It's Probably Never A Great Idea To Abandon Your Car By The Roadside In Winter

When last week’s massive blizzard hit the East Coast, plenty of drivers responded by saying “nope, nope, nope.” While on the road, to boot. We’ve already heard of inundated motorists leaving their cars to walk and I wonder; is that really a good idea?


I understand the impatience. Desperation, even. “Is this five-passenger prison cell my life now?” At a certain point, and I guess this is different for everyone, a 3.1 MPH walking speed might seem a lot more appealing than 0. Even if you’re looking at a very cold 3.1 MPH.

But two concerns loom large against the enticement of hoofing it; the significant physical danger you’re in as a pedestrian in inclement weather, and what the heck do you think is going to happen to your car?

When the weather’s so bad that traffic’s ground to a complete halt for consecutive hours, it’s because whoever’s leading that long line of cars can’t see or stop well.


Your chances of being hit is inversely correlated to how visible you are. Even if you’re wearing your aunt’s old fluorescent-on-highlighter ski suit, no person is as easy to see as a painted car.

Obviously, your danger factor on foot is further increased by the fact that you’re not wearing a climate-controlled steel safety cage any more.


But even if you go Ernest Shackleton on the storm’s ass and successfully drag yourself home, you’ve earned one triumphant scream as you kick open the door and scare your kids but also a new problem; getting the car back.

And this is a concern of two categories; it’s your problem because presumably you want that car back, it’s everybody else’s problem because now that car is in way.


I feel like the best answer to all this is just “resist the temptation leave your car for an arctic hike,” barring extenuating circumstances i.e. immediate danger inside said car. But I’m open to other opinions.

At what point would you snap and run for it, if ever?


Images by the author based on a photo by Sergey Galyonkin/Flickr,
John Lemieux/Flickr

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