My name is Curtis Colby and I am a Grade 12 student at Radville Regional High School. I am writing this to just give you an eye opener to the winter months. It made me realize lots of stuff and I want to make sure it does the same to you.
I only live about 15 minutes east of town. I was just recently caught up in the middle of a blizzard on February 28th. I went into town to play hockey. It was beautiful going in and after I was done hockey I came out of the rink and the wind was howling.
I still started the journey home, heading east on Laurier road. I was about ten minutes down the road and it was getting awful out and at that point I wasn’t sure if I should turn around or keep going. I drive a standard car and I was only driving in 1st gear. I knew I was going into the ditch except I thought I was going in on the right side so I cranked the wheel to the left, but it didn’t do anything.
As soon as I knew I was stuck I called my dad. It was about 10:50 p.m. He had no idea it was storming out. He had started the truck and was on his way to come find me. He only made it about one minute down the road and he had to turn back.
When he had got back he called me on my cell phone. He told me he couldn’t make it and that he would phone Ron Roth to see if he would come with his snowmobile. Ron only made it about a kilometer down the road and had to turn back.
I was so glad I had a full tank of gas in my car because I usually don’t. It was about 1:30 a.m. and my cars temperature gauge was going down and the heat that was coming into the car was turning into cold air. I had to keep revving the car up and holding it there for a few minutes at a time, just so the temperature gauge would go back up.
I usually bring my coveralls and all my winter gear in my car, but this time I had forgotten. I only had a toque, gloves, bunny hug and only had sneakers on. At this point I was so mad at myself for forgetting my stuff, but I tried to stay focused and not to panic. The time was about 3:00 a.m. now and I had a nasty cough for a solid half hour.
Then I fell asleep. I knew fumes were coming into my car so I had cracked the window just a little bit, but it didn’t really help. While I was sleeping my dad tried calling me a few times. I finally answered on the forth call. He told me he was getting really worried because I wasn’t answering.
He then told me that Ron was still waiting in his garage and that he was going to wait to see if the weather would let up. I still had to wait longer and I was getting cold. The wind was howling and it was seeping through my driver’s side door.
I had a survival kit in my trunk, however, in my car you have to shut off the car to open the trunk and I was not going to risk my car not starting again. I do not like that set up.
I kept waiting and then I fell asleep again. I woke up again to my dad calling me. He had called me twelve times before I answered. He told me it stopped snowing and he might be able to finally come and get me. I was so happy to hear that.
I waited longer and I kept on looking out my driver’s side window looking for someone to be coming down the road. There was about a half inch of pure ice on the inside of my windows all around my car. It made it pretty tough to see. I had to keep scraping it off and by this time my car was a giant drift.
Finally I saw a vehicle coming, except I saw the lights out of my front window. So that’s when I finally figured out I was in the left side of the ditch.
The people in the vehicle were Barney Brice and my dad. My dad came up to my window and said, “We’re the rescue team”.
Then I went and jumped in the truck. I was shaking; I was so surprised that my car stayed running the whole time. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t have made it. We ended up pulling my car out and driving it to a nearby approach and left it there for the time being.
I was still so glad to have a full tank of gas because I used a lot of gas just sitting there. I got back home at about 6:30 a.m.
I was so tired and still shaking, so I went to bed. When I woke up, my dad went and got the car and when he got back I checked the survival kit. It turned out there was nothing in that kit that would have helped me. The kit contained jumper cables, a rope, flashlight, a flotation device and zip ties.
My advice from this experience is to always have winter apparel in your vehicle. Do not risk freezing! My car stayed running the whole time but that doesn’t mean your vehicle will if you’re in the same situation.
My second piece of advice is to check your survival kit. Don’t just assume that you have everything for winter survival. My third piece of advice is to make sure you always have a good amount of gas in your vehicle. You never know what might happen.
I learned a lot from this experience. You never realize how useless you are until you’re in that kind of situation by yourself.
I want to send out a thank-you to Ron Roth, Barney Brice and especially my dad for all staying up through the night to make sure I was okay and that I got home safely.