I, BattleMum, am getting braver! How you ask? Well….
I should start by telling you I only began learning to drive 7 years ago and passed my test just over 6 years ago. And considering I’m closer to 40 than 30, you could say I was a late starter. That has meant that when it comes to adverse weather conditions I’ve been a complete non-starter. Until now……
My first car which I kept for 4 years was my trust green ball of snot, my Ford Fiesta. She was a great first car and got me started in my motoring career. However, I’ve never had any confidence in icy or snow conditions and even less after one fateful night trying to get home once it had started snowing in Cardiff. I left at 4pm to travel the 13 miles home from work once BattleDad called to say it was starting to build up at home. However, what the numpties on the radio didn’t tell me was that Caerphilly Mountain was closed. That meant I had to turn around at the bottom, along with everyone else, and try make my way to another main route. The road was slippy, and as I turned, I could feel the car sliding and I managed to steer her into the curb, literally millimetres from the car in front of me. Needless to say I then left large gaps between me and the cars in front. It rocked me, that little slide.
From there I had to take a long detour as another hill towards Caerphilly was gridlocked and I went way out of my way to try get home. I thought “If I can get as far as Nelson, I can abandon the car and it’s only a couple of miles walk if I have to get out”. Thankfully a white van went my way and he lead the way, very slowly, down to my village, both of us going no more than 5mph down the gentle hills. There was nothing else going our way and we only passed a police car going in the opposite direction. In total it took me 4 hours to get home that night, BattleDad panicking as he hadn’t heard from me since I left! That night left me quite nervous of snow and icy and since then I’ve avoided driving in snow conditions as much as possible, until now as I mentioned.
What’s changed? The car! After my trusty Fiesta I took over BattleDad’s beast of an A5 and thoroughly loved that car. However, with a small child, all his gear and two German Shepherds, it soon became quite impractical, particularly as our other car is an S5! So we took the decision last year to get me a proper car that could act as a family car but would be functional, and more importantly, could cope with the weather conditions we get up here on our mountain retreat. We moved to our current house in 2013 and actually viewed it after there had been heavy, heavy snow. Although it was a week later, there was still at least a foot of snow in the gardens and footpaths, and the road had one track in and out that everyone had obviously been using. It shocked me a little, but we loved the house so thought we’d snap it up and deal with bad weather if and when it arrived. We had a mild enough winter in terms of snow last year and with having just had BattleKid I wasn’t going anywhere anyway. But we knew we’d need to change last summer before this winter came around and I’m so glad we did now.
So now BattleMum is the proud owner and driver of a Land Rover Discovery 4 and I couldn’t be happier. I have had to eat my words somewhat since getting it as I had previously been someone who would give out about people driving in cities in their juice-guzzling 4×4 cars. But if you saw where we live you’d have to agree it’s the perfect car for around here and to deal with whatever the weather throws at us. BattleDad did a lot of research before we got her, and made sure she would be both capable and practical, with a huge boot too for dogs and the child’s gear too!
I drove her for the first time in snow two weeks ago, under the supervision of BattleDad, and it was fine. I put her into snow mode, and used the Hill Descent Control to go down the hills out of our estate. She does all the clutch and brake controls in that mode, you just need to steer. Once you’re passed the worst of it, take HDC mode off and leave her in snow mode for the main roads. Job done! So this morning I dropped BattleKid off to nursery and came home, all on my lonesome. See I’m getting braver!
We have a driving day coming up with Land Rover themselves to see exactly what a Discovery can do and I had been hoping the snow would stay away until we had done that but not now. Having been forced to face my fears and get out in it, I’m happy in the knowledge the car is capable of dealing with snow and ice and that we have one of the safest cars on the road. I’m very happy with her, despite being reluctant to give up the Audi, and am getting more confident in dealing with snow on the roads around our estate and area. Hopefully that will only grow with the driving day! Looking forward to that now.