Local
5:59 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Commuters Cope With Traffic Woes During Winter Weather

It's been difficult for many who have been stranded in their cars, at hotels or in schools after the Atlanta area came to screeching halt Tuesday during the snowy and icy conditions. However, some who faced considerable ordeals consider themselves the lucky ones.

Scott Keefer left his Cobb County home Tuesday and headed to work at the Original El Taco restaurant in Virginia Highland. Keefer works as an executive chef there.

“Already at 12:30 there was already ice conditions on the Interstate, and I could tell right away it was going to be a bad situation. By the time I got to work, we saw the city basically grind to a halt.”

Now, Keefer is stuck in Virginia-Highland.

Gridlock on Atlanta streets Tuesday
Gridlock on Atlanta streets Tuesday
Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

“I had planned to stay in the restaurant overnight. Fortunately, I have a friend who lives real close by that knew of my situation and called me and said please come stay at my house, so I was able to find a place to bunk down for the night. I’m looking at the situation today, and I think I probably I don’t have any hope of getting back to Cobb County today either, not really. I expect it’s probably going to be a day or two before I get home.”

Still, Keefer considers himself fortunate.

“Compared to what is out there in the community. My number 2, my assistant, my sous chef, spent the night 12 hours in his car trying to get home, never made it, wound up staying with a friend. He spent a lot longer out in worse conditions. There are a lot of people who spent their nights in their cars, so I feel like I’m considerably better off.”

That was also the case with Lee Wilson. Wilson works at Pace Academy in Buckhead. It took her 3 hours to get home Tuesday instead of her normal 20 minutes.

“I was thinking everybody in the world must have gotten off work and out of school at the exact same time, because there was just nowhere to go on any of the roads. I tried alternate routes and ended up even more stuck than I could ever have imagined.”

Wilson says the long drive was frustrating.

“I was stir crazy, just feeling really caught because you’re so helpless and powerless to do anything about it. All you can do is simply sit there.”

But after seeing what others were going through, Wilson says she felt petty.

“When I saw the news this morning and realized people had been in cars for 16 plus hours without food, water, bathroom facilities, I realized I was one of the lucky ones.”

Wilson says she's enjoying the day off and feels grateful that she’s home safe and sound.