Friday, December 08, 2006

Winter Driving Tips

Last Friday, Chicagoland was hit with the largest snowstorm of the year. There must have been like 27 or 28 feet of snow, though it’s actually hard to tell the exact amount because when it hit the ground it settled down into only about a foot or so.

With these winter storms comes added dangers on the highway. Though snow plow operators literally work around the clock to keep the streets clear, the slick snow, sleet, ice, and slush will make your travel hazardous.

Below is a list of tips that you should follow should you drive your automobile in winter conditions. Remember these guidelines, they may save your life.

• Don’t wipe all the snow off your front and rear windshields. Just clear off a little rectangle in the front so you can be sure to concentrate on the road.

• Keep as much snow on the roof of your car as well. That way, when you drive down the street, it will all blow off towards the traffic behind you.

• If you start to slide on the slick surface, jam your brakes as hard as you can. Yeah, that’ll take care of it.

• There is a certain threshold for how fast you can drive and remain safe. It might be 30 miles per hour; it might be 20 miles per hour. Make sure that you drive 8 miles per hour slower than the safest speed, that way everyone behind you can drive slowly and safely, too.

• If you know that it’s going to snow overnight, don’t bother getting up earlier or anything. Just get up at the same time that you always do and hit those streets just like everybody else.

• That big SUV you got? Yeah, now you can kick in the 4WD for added traction and safer driving. What, you didn’t get it with the 4WD option?

• When you’re driving behind someone going just a little too slowly, make sure you ride up right behind that car so the driver knows you’re trying to go faster.

• One of the most important things about driving in adverse conditions like snow storms is your ability to stay alert. After work, try to have only 4 or 5 martinis instead of 8 or 9.

• If you are involved in a collision with another motorist, make sure you get out of your car and make wild gestures. Point to the dent in your fender, throw your arms up in the air, then slap the top of your head with both of your hands.

• Make sure you fiddle with your defroster, the car radio and have your ear on your cell phone as much as possible. Try to have a notepad on your lap, too, so you can write down that important information from the person on the phone.

• If you have a totally awesome muscle car, rev your engine and spin your tires. That’s totally cool.

• Remember, truckers, those wheels throw a lot of snow and slush behind you. Don’t forget to use mud flaps. There is a wide variety to choose from, everything from the silhouette of a nicely shaped woman arching her back e’er so seductively to Yosemite Sam with pistols drawn warning you to back off.

• Remember to keep a couple large bags of salt in your trunk, that way if you crash into a snow bank you can make some awesome margaritas.

• Finally, keep an emergency kit handy. The kit should contain a bottle of water, a blanket, water proof matches, road flares, a can of gasoline, fireworks, energy bars, a flare gun, oily rags, old newspapers, and extra socks.

On a side note, SQT asked me to write a review of the Star of the Guardians series. You can read about it here.


srp said...

Here from Michele.
I lived in Gary, Indiana when the 1967 storm went through. At least 36 inches fell. After living in the south, I know the drivers up north can at least attempt to drive on it.... I have seen a "threat" of snow close schools in Mississippi. REALLY!!

In Oklahoma I carried a couple of bags of cat litter in the trunk. Helped with weight in the back of the front wheel drive car and if the ice was bad, a little under the wheels was a big help with traction.

Bob-kat said...

Ah, Margaritas - what a good idea! :-)

Snow is always fun over here too. we don't get much so everyone panics and either drives at a consistent 5mph or as if the roads were nice and dry adn not at all like an ice rink!

Good post - made me smile after a tough day at work.

Here from Michele's but I also notice you dropped by my blog so thanks for visiting!

A Army Of (Cl)One said...

Nothing like the frost of '87 we had here in CA. It was horriable. We lost the outdoor Fern plant and had to wear a long sleeve shirt.

I was hell my friend, hell I say.

utenzi said...

Those are some great highway tips, Jon. I suspect that following them all would make driving a whole lot more... interesting. I heartily endorse the bags of salt idea since margaritas are so tasty!

Michele sent me over to Chicago.

angela marie said...

We got all that snow last Friday too, and I think that everyone WAS taking your advice. I saw them all in the ditch on the news, so I'm SURE of it!

Michele sent me!

Carmi said...

Sage advice indeed, Jon. Thanks for posting it. Your timing is impeccable: London was slammed with 2 to 3 FEET of the white stuff last night. We woke up to a city paralyzed on virtually every measurable level.

The kids are thrilled with their snow day. So am I.

Hi from Michele's!

Jabafatboy said...

Now I remember why I left chicago..

Thank you for reminding me, weather here is not so bad afterall

WendyWings said...

Here from Micheles, and very grateful I live in city where it does NOT snow ever, Yeah for Auckland New Zealand lol.
Have a great day.

Maria said...

Sometimes I sentimentaly long for the snow and then I read a post like this and reality sets end. Guess I will settle for the Santa Anna winds and the dust storms.

Darth Nepharia said...

Snow? What the hell is that?

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Another tip: stay in the house all winter until it thaws out.

Professor Xavier said...

Was that Sno-Cat box in Japanese? I thought they were real American heroes.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Of course G.I.Joe is the Real American Hero, though I guess the contractor who made the vehicle sold them to our allies at the Land of the Rising Sun as well.

Kid Flash said...

THere sure was lot of snow, but you forget to mention that if you happen to have kids with you, or whatever under 21s are called remind them to throw snowballs at cars behind them.
Kid Flash.
But what is worse, snow or sleet?
I always thought was that irritating slushy always had a way of just screwing your clothes.
Anyway Jon, since it's sooo snowy, wanna have a marshmellow eating contest and a hot chocolate drinking contest???