April 13, 2023

Weather + Driving

I don’t do well with bad weather at baseline. Driving home from work on summer afternoons often feels like a round of lighting roulette and it’s stressful. I do it, but I hate it.

Yesterday’s drive home was the scariest experience I have ever been behind the wheel. Seriously, ever.

My typically 25-30 min drive on local roads took me two hours and at one point I honestly did not know whether to keep driving or abandon my car and take cover in a pawn shop (because the area that was the worst didn’t have many options). At various points, I truly regretted not hunkering down in my office for the night and sleeping on the hard floor but I also desperately wanted to get home to the kids AND did not want to make the drive in the dark, so I left at 4:45.


We had multiple tornado warnings (I love how they all suggest going to a basement when south FL HAS NO BASEMENTS) and the streets had waves like an ocean in some areas. Non-SUVS were just left in certain places and people were walking in inches of water. I was driving our bigger car (Highlander) and was still unsure as to whether I could make it across the worst of the spots. Josh was in the Prius (!) but he works to the west of where we live and things were not nearly as bad in that direction.

Our nanny had made it in mid-morning and managed to pick up the kids (they go to school a few miles east of where we live, and I work a few miles east of that). Broward County Schools are closed today, which means our school will be too. And my easy call week with nights and weeks covered has turned into a source of extreme stress because I am absolutely terrified having to do that drive all over again and unlike when we have a hurricane there is no hospital emergency plan enacted. AND the flood watch continues.

I may ask someone who lives much closer to cover but I am not sure it would be a popular move since there is no official closure. BAH. It would have been so nice to have a calm normal week of call. I know that obviously I am not the only one impacted and I am grateful for the emergency workers who have braved these conditions to help others.

(But also, I just wish today I could stay out of it.)

UPDATE: It was much better today and I made it in!! I actually drove a friend who lives in the neighborhood and works in my office because I felt safer as a pair. But OMG hopefully it won’t pour again today (it might).


  • Reply Coco April 13, 2023 at 6:13 am

    so sorry to hear that. I would have stayed in office as i’m so afraid of driving in that condition, but i also understand the need to get back to the family. hope it gets better today.

  • Reply Shelly April 13, 2023 at 7:02 am

    That is scary. And you can always reach out to someone and ask. I think if we are open and have an honest conversation of the difficulty of that weather, there is nothing wrong in that and maybe it could open discussion on how to handle that in future for your office.

    • Reply DVResident April 14, 2023 at 10:55 am

      I have absurd bad weather anxiety when driving-in Oregon, it was when our mountains and hills turned to ice rinks when we got any snow or ice, and here in the DMV, the storms scare the hell out of me-especially on the freeways. Baltimore drivers already terrify me, and I refuse to drive my car if there’s even a drizzle. (Funny though, rain in OR was a non issue!!)

      I 100% hear you, and I also fantasize about moving to NYC when I can give up my car and never drive again. (Fiancé said no)

  • Reply Alyce April 13, 2023 at 7:16 am

    Oh man, that sounds treacherous! So glad to hear everyone made it home safely yesterday. Just wanted to say it’s absolutely appropriate given the conditions to ask someone to cover for you if you’re needed in person and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask. I might send an email now to the group of doctors who could cover saying that your drive home took two hours and you don’t know if you’d be able to make it back to the hospital in a reasonable time frame if necessary and ask if anyone was available to cover if an in person emergency comes up. People may be more willing to commit in advance before there’s a need than at the last minute, and having a backup plan may ease some of the anxiety of the situation.

    But if you do have to go in – don’t drive through standing water! It’s deceptively dangerous, and even if your car doesn’t get swept away, driving through deep water can fry your car’s electrical system.

  • Reply Ruth April 13, 2023 at 7:44 am

    It might be worth bringing up to your hospital the idea of a list of volunteer drivers for bad weather. Then if you have a low clearance vehicle, or the weather calls for more experienced drivers, the list can be used to find someone to drive you. That way people aren’t being asked to cover for a role they don’t have the training in.

    This is something I’ve seen done for regions with snow, as many people are not good at snow driving, but still need to be at work. It might work well for Florida weather conditions too.

  • Reply Amy April 13, 2023 at 8:38 am

    That sounds so scary! I grew up in New England and truly one of the reasons I relocated to Virginia was that the snow and ice were a constant source of stress for me during the winter (and spring, sometimes). I had a terrifying behind-the-wheel experience where I spun onto the median on the interstate (alone, after dark, 20 years old, pre-cellphone era) and that really impacted me. If I were you I wouldn’t hesitate to reach out and let your coworkers know it took you 2 hours to get home from the hospital, which is necessarily going to affect your ability to be there to care for patients!

    Just ugh I’m so sorry. I completely empathize.

  • Reply Jenny April 13, 2023 at 9:17 am

    Yes, what in the world happened to our weather??? After such a dry winter, to get this much rain is crazy. Palm Beach County wasn’t as affected, and we don’t live in a flood zone. But still- we got an insane amount of rain. I’m glad everyone is okay and yes- it looks like the worst of it is over.

  • Reply Anne April 13, 2023 at 11:51 am

    Yikes! Glad you made it home safely.

    I live in SoCal so heavy rains aren’t usually an issue. However, we’ll go like 6 months with no rain and then torrential downpour for a day which means flooding EVERYWHERE. And it doesn’t take much rain to foul up all our freeways. A few years ago, it was so awful. My normal 15 min commute (~6 miles) took me over 3 hours to get home, and that was with me leaving my car at a business about a mile away from home and walking the rest. That day I learned to always carry running shoes in my car because I would rather have jogged the 6 miles home in the rain than do that situation ever again. Not sure this is in any way helpful to you! but I feel better having a back up plan.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 13, 2023 at 12:36 pm

      Today I thought about how it might have been better to run home!!!! but not with tornado warnings/lightning.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns April 13, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    Wow that is terrifying! I drove on flooded roads when I was in grad school and it was a scarring experience! I was so relieved when I got to higher, dryer ground. I am glad your drive in today was better and that you had a co-pilot. I wouldn’t hesitate to ask if anyone closer could help if the flooding conditions continue!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger April 13, 2023 at 12:38 pm

      Next time if I know kids are safe at home with Josh i might just choose to stay at work!!! Wouldn’t have been the world’s most comfortable but would have been okay. Multiple coworkers of mine have lost their cars in this kind of scenario yesterday: — insane right?!

  • Reply Elisabeth April 13, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    Oh Sarah! I was so stressed and anxious just reading about this. Driving in heavy rain terrifies me more than anything else weather-wise. I’m so glad you made it home okay and the conditions were better today.

  • Reply Sonna April 13, 2023 at 2:04 pm

    Good grief! That sounds v scary. Glad you made it back in one piece.

  • Reply Sara B. April 13, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    Glad you made it back home ok. We live in one of the areas in Orlando that got flooded badly in Ian, so my seeing the pictures of Ft. Lauderdale worried me. Flooding can be horrible- we are nowhere close to being back in our house 6 months later. Hoping for the best for all of you.

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