The Winter Ride

It’s January, the mid-winter, the harshest of seasons. This is the time of year when the wind blows the most raw, when snow covers the landscape and ice coats the windshield. It can be a hard time to be outside at all, and an especially hard time for traveling, from walking to driving to flying. Even just opening the front door can be a task some days.

And this winter in particular has been a brutal one: Polar temperatures descending from Canada, followed by a “bomb cyclone” that hit the Atlantic Coast with record cold and snow and ice as far south as Florida.  Then rain and warm weather made a quick stop before the next round of sub-freezing temperatures. These are the makings of transportation nightmares, where planes are grounded and cars sit encased in ice.

This is when anything can go wrong, when sheets of ice and a glaze of snow lines every flat surface. Anyone could slip and fall, no matter their age. But where for a younger person a fall hurts only their pride, for older Americans a fall can be catastrophic. The sidewalks are slick, the steps are snow-laden, the plow went by an hour ago and still you have somewhere you need to be. This can make the decision  to leave home especially tough.

This is a reality for many older people. They know all too well that the impacts of age hit particularly hard in winter. As we age our vision weakens, our muscles lose strength, and we grow less steady on our feet. These are the normal changes, the result of accumulated years spent on Earth, and they can  navigating transportation precarious in the best of weather, much less winter. Throw in snow blocking the front door, a stoop still in need of shoveling and an icy sidewalk and it’s easy to understand why some older people might just consider staying home after December.

But isolation carries its own health risks, and for older people becoming homebound can be almost as dangerous as a fall. It’s important to maintain the means to engage in social interactions and enjoy a life outside the home. Everyone needs their independence. But how do you thread the needle between the risks of winter stumbles and those of staying home?

This is where the ITN promise of arm-through-arm, door-through-door service really counts. We do the driving, but that’s not all we do. Every ride begins and ends at a doorway. Our job isn’t finished until our rider is safely indoors, over the threshold, beyond the sand, salt and snow. It may be windy and rainy, freezing and slick, but that walk from the house to the car or from the car to the house is not something our riders are ever left to negotiate alone. There’s no reason to get caught deciding between risking a slip or staying home. Decide instead to become part of ITN: Arm-through-arm, door-through-door every time, even in the harshest of seasons.

28 thoughts on “The Winter Ride

  • I subscribed to your service before…..so would be interested in getting it again. Is it available again?

    • Hi Celia. Thanks for writing. Where are you located? Information about where our affiliates operate is available on our website here. If ITN services aren’t available, try calling our Rides in Sight hotline (1-800-607-4337) or go to the Rides in Sight website. Rides in Sight has information on ride service providers across the United States.
      Hopefully this helps!

  • I am confused. Are you in service in Fairfield county or are you still closed? I have tried to contact you but I never get a response. I should really appreciate a response.

    • Hi Jordice. Thanks for writing. The ITNCoastalConnecticut affiliate has indeed closed, so you are correct, there is no service in your area currently. Hopefully they will be able to resume operations sometime in the future. If you are in need of ride services, try calling our Rides in Sight hotline (1-800-607-4337) or go to the Rides in Sight website. Rides in Sight has information on ride service providers across the United States. If there isn’t an ITN in your area, Rides in Sight will tell you who in your community offers similar service.
      And thanks again for your note.

  • Does ITN still provide ride services in the Greater Boston Area?

    I thought that they closed all operations, so am surprised as to why I just got this.

    Please clarify

    • Hi Don. Thanks for writing. No, we are not currently operating in the Boston area. If you’re in need of other transportation options in your area try calling our Rides in Sight hotline (1-800-607-4337) or go to the Rides in Sight website. Rides in Sight has information on ride service providers across the United States. If there isn’t an ITN in your area, Rides in Sight will tell you who in your community offers similar service.
      Also, we would love to be back in the Boston area, but to operate an affiliate we need a cohort of dedicated local people committed to senior transportation and capable of running a nonprofit. At present we do not have such a cohort in the Boston area. If you or anyone you know might fit that description we have tremendous interest in reinstating service. Please contact us through our website if this is a role you or someone you know might be interested in.
      And thanks again for writing!

  • We don;t have snow here in Las Vegas, Nevada, though risks to seniors are still there. When will you have service here?

    • Hello Sue, thanks for your note. True, Las Vegas isn’t known for its winter weather, but like almost every community Las Vegas could use more senior transportation options. We would love to have an ITN in your area. To operate an affiliate we need a cohort of local people dedicated to senior transportation and capable of running an affiliate. If you or anyone you know might be interested in such an effort, please contact us through our website.
      And thanks again for your comment!

    • Hi Bowman. Thanks for your note. We would love to be back in Cincinnati. To operate an affiliate in any community we need a cohort of local people dedicated to senior transportation and capable of running the affiliate. At present we do not have such a cohort in Cincinnati, but if you or anyone you know might fit that description we have tremendous interest in reinstating service there. Feel free to contact us through our website if this is a role you or someone you know might be interested in.
      And thanks again for writing!

  • I live in Lake Mary, Florida and was told service was no longer provided. What’s the scoop?
    Barney Grier

    • Hey Barney. ITNOrlando has information about the communities they cover listed on their website. If they do not provide service in your area, the easiest way to see what ride options are available is to call our Rides in Sight hotline (1-800-607-4337) or go to the Rides in Sight website. Rides in Sight has information on ride services organizations across the United States. If ITNOrlando doesn’t cover your community, Rides in Sight will tell you who in your community offers similar service.
      Best!

    • Hi Florence. Thanks for getting in touch. The best way to see what options are in your area is to call our Rides in Sight hotline (1-800-607-4337) or go to the Rides in Sight website. Rides in Sight has information on ride services across the United States. If there isn’t an ITN in your area, Rides in Sight will tell you who in your community offers similar service.
      Hopefully that helps!

  • I have a few issues with this idea. What about the risk & liability of the ITN volunteer? I personally don’t want to slip and fall assisting a rider and have that liability on me. I think discretion needs to be used with rides in bad weather and hope affiliates keep this in mind during winter months.

    • Absolutely true Cyndi. That’s why affiliates have weather policies designed to keep both riders and drivers safe in instances of severe weather. Such protections are crucial, we couldn’t agree more. ITN gives rides all winter, but no one should do it if conditions are unsafe.

    • Hi Evah, thanks for writing. We do not have an ITN affiliate in Kansas City, MO. If you are in need of transportation, the best way to see what options are in your area is to call our Rides in Sight hotline (1-800-607-4337) or go to the Rides in Sight website. Rides in Sight has information on ride services across the United States. If there isn’t an ITN in your area, Rides in Sight will tell you who in your community offers similar service.
      Hopefully that helps!

  • I live in Cambridge,Mass and used to subscribe to ITN.until it
    stopped serving this location.
    I miss it so much-I can no longer go to movies,volunteer and taxis are often impatient if you have trouble getting in and out of cab.
    You are lucky people who can
    enjoy ITN maybe one day they will come back here.

    • Thanks for your note Alison. If you’re looking for other transportation options in your area try calling our Rides in Sight hotline (1-800-607-4337) or go to the Rides in Sight website. Rides in Sight has information on ride service providers across the United States. If there isn’t an ITN in your area, Rides in Sight will tell you who in your community offers similar service.
      Thanks again for writing!

  • I know many friends who think the Ride is wonderful. What are the qualifications for joining and the cost?

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