Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Polar Vortex: driving edition

Let's talk winter driving for a minute.

In case you haven't heard, out West we're experiencing a bit of a drought and a dry winter. But I did just have to chisel a sheet of ice off my little Camry before trekking into work this morning. Can someone say freezing rain?

It's a dry winter, but it's not exactly a balmy one. And with freezing fog, some of us can go weeks at a time without seeing the sun even once.

I feel for my East Coast friends. I do. There was a time when I lived out there. And quite frankly, I can't even imagine how they are coping with all the snow they've been getting. I mean, I remember driving around DC one Sunday morning with a little powdered sugar dusting of snow and seeing 5 fender benders at one exit. Just one exit, people. It took me an hour to drive 5 miles that day. Longest drive of my life.

Let's face it, a lot of you East Coasters simply don't know how to cope in winter weather. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, let me give you a few pointers on driving in winter weather.

1)  Slow down. If you think you are driving slowly, go even slower. You should basically be at a crawl here. The roads are likely slick and one patch of ice can send you careening into your neighbor's mailbox in a split second if you're going too fast. Go slow. Sure it's going to take you longer to get everywhere, but it's better to be late to work than never make it at all.

2)  Give 'em room. You see the car in front of you? I know you usually follow along inches from their bumper to ward off anyone who'd attempt to take that space as an invitation to join your lane. Don't do that. Imagine the biggest pickup truck you can think of. Or maybe a stretch limo. Now put that imaginary limo in between your front bumper and the brake lights of the car ahead of you. Keep that fancy rig between you as you go, and you'll likely avoid playing bumper cars if one of you should start to slide or brake suddenly.

3)  Stay home.  If your office shuts down, if your children don't have school, if you don't have to leave the house for any reason, just don't. Cancel your coffee meet up. Stay home. Enjoy the time off. Tackle your honey-do list. Organize your closet. Bake cookies. Watch a movie. Catch up on your favorite show. If you don't know how to drive in adverse weather, don't.

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