I grew up in the Midwest where winters were brutal. But when you’re a kid, none of that matters. We would ice skate on a frozen pond, smack dab in the middle of a creepy old cemetery. And we wouldn’t come home until our fingers and toes were nearly frostbitten. I remember that “pins and needles” tingly feeling while the near-frozen blood in my digits was warming back up. And the mildewed smell of my wet, snow-packed socks. So close to frozen that one could break in half if dropped on the floor. Walking to school, then lining your socks up next to everyone else’s on the old style heat register so they would thaw out (yum). Now that I’m an adult, I prefer to view the whole “Winter Wonderland” thing from my Mother’s window, as I watch my own kiddo making an igloo (which, to this day, she can still not pronounce). Begging me to come out and play in the snow with her. “No way (I say), I’ve done my time.” I suppose some people who grow up in harsh winter conditions embrace it and become avid skiers and snowboarders. They build impressive snowmen and buy snowmobiles and hunt for bigfoot. And they learn to drive in those winter road conditions as well.
But, in the Midwest, they’re equipped for winter road conditions. They have trucks that dump salt on the roads to melt the snow and sand to give the icey roads some grip. Although I dread getting out in it, I have no choice when I have to drive somewhere. And I have found that the best way to survive a skid on a snowy road is to avoid getting in one. Teaching new drivers how to recover from a skid is impossible when done textbook-style. The only way to learn how to remain in control when you’re driving on snow and ice-plagued highways requires that those skills are learned behind the wheel. There’s no other way of learning how to cope. If you can’t avoid a skid and your car starts sliding or spinning (that’s fun…ugh), and you’re not already an expert, nothing anyone can teach you will help you out. But here are a few tips on how to gain that training and experience to reduce the chances of a crash.
Just stay home. If the roads are really that bad, it’s just not worth it. Being late for work because you crashed is just pointless. If you absolutely must drive in those conditions, though, get yourself a good set of snow tires. And, get all four tires. Don’t be cheap. Having snow tires only on the front will only cause you to spin out. Electronic stability control helps. As does all-wheel drive (although it offers no miracles). Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) also helps in this situation.
And, where you live is a factor. So just suck it up and move south, my friend. Then you won’t have to worry about it.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Winter Road Conditions – Comedy Defensive Driving