Saturday, December 13, 2008

Driving (in) Snow

It's snowing here in Seattle, and it's beautiful:


My sweetie, however, is a California girl, so our second winter in God's Country, I gave her three rules for driving in snow. I thought I'd pass them on, to lessen the chance that someone injures me in the next few days.

  1. Make no sudden moves. This has a lot of corollaries: give yourself extra time to get where you're going; pay more attention to what's going on, so you can stop more gradually.
  2. Don't stop on a hill. Sometimes this means altering your route to avoid hills. When I was a kid, we lived on badly-built hill that forked half way up, with the right branch sloping, so people who drove on the right inevitably slipped to the right, they'd stop, try to start back up, and slip back into the crook of the branch, and we'd have to get out and push them out. When I learned to drive, I drove up that hill on the left, with a prayer.
  3. If you start to skid, steer toward where you want to go. When I was growing up, front-wheel drive was a New Thing, and folks made it sound like it was different for front-wheel than for rear-wheel drive. It's not. They just tell it to you differently ("steer into the skid", which confuses people).

That's it.


eM said...

thing is: when you are skidding on ice, you cannot remember these things

ardeb said...

yeah, it takes practice. I was driving in Michigan on an interstate and there were two semis ahead that had slowed to a crawl, or stopped, one in each lane. I put on my breaks but I was on ice, so they had no effect, and I panicked for about a second, then I was able to downshift instead, and look into the lane next to me (the semi in that lane was farther ahead), and had enough traction to be able to steer over there while the engine let me slow down gradually enough to get out of trouble. Not fun practice. Definitely not fun.