Monday, November 24, 2008

Winter Driving: Not Everyone is Designed for It

Photo courtesy of Paul Tople, photographer.*

I'll remind you that Bailey's Leaf is coming to you from snowy Northeast Ohio. Winter driving isn't an option around here, though for some, I think that they shouldn't practice it. I thought that I would trip through the thoughts that I had while driving through near white-out conditions on three separate occasions Friday.

I had K- firmly strapped into her seat (I double checked, believe me.) Our mission: Little Gym. We made it, 25 minutes late. On our way, there had been an accident that involved two young ladies. From what I could gather as I was involved in Rubber Neck Alley was that it was slick, someone slid and they both ended up with significant car damage and on opposite sides of the roadway. They were upright and walking about the crowded highway, talking on cells. They appeared to be fine.

As I creeped along with my hazard lights on, I couldn't help but to think that gee, it would be super if people would USE THEIR LIGHTS! Um, its hard enough to see anyhow. Lights. Lights would be good.

On my way up the expressway ramp to the general roadway, folks were slip-sliding away. Rear wheel drive vehicles aren't completely fantastic in winter conditions, particularly when the snow on the roadway has reached several inches thick. As I was sitting on said expressway ramp, in my rear view mirror I watched two cars very slowly twirling towards each other. I'm sad to say that later I found that they connected. But tires, tires are very important. I'm not saying that this is the reason for the collision, but if you have bald tires they will not allow your vehicle to go. I've driven with bald tires. It's not good. (I was in college and poor.)

Neutral is your friend, people. If you are sliding or spinning, neutral will help. Just pop that baby in there and a prayer doesn't hurt.

4WD doesn't mean that you are invincible. You will slide on ice and you can still skid on thick snow. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it isn't the extra security from an accident that you were hoping for. You still must drive carefully. It just means that your likelihood of skidding or sliding is decreased. Do you know how many 4WD vehicles that I've seen off the roadway recently? Um, yes. Be careful folks!

Those hazard lights? They put them there for a reason. They didn't have an extra hole to fill in the dashboard assembly. If the weather is extra icky and visibility is, well, less than fabulous-- feel free to use them. Some people may laugh as they drive past, but if visibility is crubby, they are seeing you as they are laughing. That is the aim.

Windshield washer fluid is a must. Keep an extra bottle in your car. Nothing is worse than running out of windshield washer fluid in a blizzard. I've also done that. It's not pretty. You are driving down the road much to close to the car in front of you, hoping to catch the salty road spray from their tires so that you can attempt to streak some of that sludge off of your windshield. You know that it is a crapshoot, because 9 times out of 10, you are just making a smeary mess that makes visibility out of your window glass even worse.
I've purchased some cheesy cracker packs and placed them into my center console. You never know quite how long you might be stuck in traffic and K- doesn't do hungry well.

Well, that should be it for the Bailey's Leaf Winter Blog Driving Clinic. Do come back again when we learn, "Tire Pressure, It is Your Friend."
*This was an offshoot leg of the expressway near to where I happened to have been stuck in Rubber Neck Alley.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I'm not looking forward to that when we move back east - especially since we need to travel that way during the winter months!