I've been driving safely for seven years since my stroke. 1,800 mile round trips in the summer have gone well. I thought it was safe to go see my brother at Christmas since we had the the warmest December since records have been kept. I know the route because I've driven from New Jersey to Chicago for 25 years. I was right -- except for two days in Ohio. When I left to go back home snow was predicted for later in the day so getting an early start meant I would be off the road by 3 p.m.
As I crossed Indiana I saw snow plows waiting on the shoulder, but the snow kept stopping so I kept driving. I got safely through Indiana and western Ohio. However, the tollway in eastern Ohio was covered with several inches of snow because not one inch of the road plowed. I knew I was in trouble when I saw a dozen cars had slid off the road and a big truck had jack-knifed and closed two of the three lanes. I thought about getting off the tollway but secondary roads are usually in worse condition so I kept driving. Two angels showed me the way. We formed a caravan driving at 30 miles per hour in the center lane with our hazard lights blinking. It took me three hours to go 90 miles with no snow plows anywhere along my route. When I pay $30 (round trip) to drive on a toll road I expect some service.
When I got off the tollway my fears about the secondary roads were confirmed. The snow was so deep my tires spun as I inched forward through intersections after traffic lights turned green. This exit had a dozen hotels so potentially hundreds of people needed to use the road, but this four lane street was not plowed. When I got in my hotel room I saw on TV that classes and events were cancelled for the evening so local people could stay home. What about the travelers stranded miles from home? These hotels generate tax revenues so where is the service Austintown?
Driving through snowstorms was hard when I was young and married. Driving alone in winter is too much when Ohio acts like Mississippi where they remove snow by waiting for it to melt. When I got up the next day I saw a photo of the Indiana tollway which had been plowed. I spent an extra day in my hotel waiting for Ohio to clear the roads. I've vowed never to drive alone on a winter trip again.