Given the number of intellectually-challenged persons I had to drive around to get home over lunch today1, I figured it was long past time to write up my best winter weather driving tips.

  1. If the weather looks worse than you feel comfortable driving in, then don’t.  Stay home and save the rest of us some headaches.
  2. When the weather is affecting visibility, turn on your headlights.  Yes, this means you mister white SUV speeding down the road with no headlights during blizzard-like driving conditions.
  3. Clean as much of the snow and ice off your car as you can reach.  This does include the roof & hood of your car as well as the windows.  Failure to clear these areas tends to cause the snow/ice to migrate from them to your windows once you get moving, so all that time you spent clearing the windows suddenly has gone to waste.
    • And you were carefully clearing off all your windows and not just a tiny viewport in the front & back windows, right?
  4. Unless the road is 100% clean and clear, double everybody’s stopping distance and not just yours.
    • When you’re thinking about cutting through a yellow light (or red if you have a death wish), just imagine what will happen if your tires lose traction and somebody is coming the opposite way2.

1 My area is currently under a Winter Weather Advisory and a Blizzard Watch.
2 For those of you lacking in imagination, it’s called a car accident.

Frozen in Amber | (via Flickr)

11 Dec 2007. Iowa. Cedar Rapids. The weather did suck. Mightly. 12 Dec 2007 everything was coated in a beautiful1 layer of ice. Fortunately my employer allows me to work from home and I did so yesterday. I still went outside, cleared off the cars and moved them to the other side of the street. Just in case the plows decided to make another pass at cleaning up our street. It wasn’t too bad out but I had a blazing headache, plus work to do and all. I took my camera outside with me and snapped a few hurried photos before rushing back inside to the warmth. Then I spent the day fighting my headache and trying to get some work done. But you don’t care about my suffering, you want pretty pictures. So go look at them already!

1 Beautiful provided you didn’t have to clear it off your car and try heading into work.

We got hit with a blizzard warning for the weekend and last night things were not looking pretty out the windows. Then about 6:30 PM, the power went out. Fortunately, our house has a fireplace so we were able to stay warm until the power came back on around 1:00 AM this morning. We trooped up to bed, got a few hours rest and then went outside to shovel the sidewalks. *blech* Days like today make me hate having a corner lot (twice the sidewalks to shovel). The sidewalks had 4 layers on them: snow, slush, ice and water. It made shovelling the walk even more hellish than usual. Fortunately we have kind neighbors who lent us their snowblower which got rid of the snow and some of the slush. But that left us with plenty of ice and water. A few hours of backbreaking labor later, we had the sidewalks as clean we were going to get them and came back inside. Gack. You have to love living here; otherwise you go insane. I have the pleasant advantage of not loving it, but keeping my sanity locked in a box so I never lose it. :p

It was raining when I went home for lunch today. When I left to head back to the office; the rain was mixed with snow. *blech* It’s still too warm out for the snow to do anything except melt the moment it touches down, but it’s a sign that we’ve truly moved into Winter. Bah humbug!