Dick Hunt's Blog

December 7, 2013

Parking At Big Valley Church, South of Stettler. Alberta.

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 5:10 pm

Parking At Big Valley Church, South of Stettler. Alberta.
by Dick Hunt, Friday, December 6th, 2013.
One of the Churches in which I served in Alberta from 1957 to 1964 was located at the top of the hill above the town. The parking area was on a gentle downward slope above the building. Since I was normally there before the other folks, I was boxed in by the other vehicles. Invariably, with snow and ice on the slope, the drivers above me got stuck and in the process of trying to get away simply dug the rear tires down into a trough. I regularly got in their cars, rocked them back and forth and gently backed them away from the building so I could get them away. They thought I had a secret while all I had was a light foot on the accelerator.
It seems an appropriate time to share the light foot application secret, since it makes the difference between safety and being stuck, or in the ditch, or into another vehicle or a lamp post or a tree. It is just good common sense to match the speed to the conditions and learn to be light on the gas pedal and the brakes. The tendency with many drivers is that when the traction is worst the more they panic and that is when the troubles start.
One Easter Sunday when Ruth and I started off for Vancouver just after noon from Williams Lake, we were flagged down on the highway just before a curve in the road and gently slowed down to find an almost total jam in the road ahead of us. There were vehicles in the ditch and and all over the road. Many of those in the ditch were four wheel drive, the drivers of which were badly overconfident of the safety of their units. We didn’t hit anybody.
The trick is to match the power applied to the driving wheels to the traction beneath the wheels. Likewise, the front wheels can only guide the vehicle when given the opportunity to grip what is beneath them on the road and when the speed is matched to the conditions. The problem is that almost everyone drives too fast and the really bad pile ups are often caused by one driver who is in too much of a hurry. I recall one stormy day just north of Calgary with a strong cross wind from the west blowing across the highway, when one cow decided to walk across the road. The result was a pile up of over 100 cars and some fatalities.
Closer to home, Ruth and I had just visited old friends at a home in Langley City on a Boxing day some years ago and started off to return via Mission after sundown. Within a few moments we were faced with total and unnanounced whiteout conditions. The Police were stopping all vehicles at the Abbotsford exit. We entered the off highway route, but missed the lane and ended up on the road to Sumas, Washington. Ruth watched the road on the right to warn me of the adjacent ditch and in almost total whiteout conditions, we carefully rolled to a stop at the U.S. Border station. We entered the U.S. and spent the night at a nearby hotel. The next morning we made our way home to Maple Ridge under sunny skies.
I realize of course that we often owe our life and safety to the fact that our merciful God is lovingly taking care of us. But we have tried to make His job less difficult by taking care to practice safe driving speeds and light pressure on the pedals. And we drive for the others too.

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