Winter is fun. So is driving in it. Really. Part II

This is a new series (written by Darryl) and dedicated to all of my wonderful wife’s readers.

WARNING: This material contains riotous embellishment, poignant observations and candid politically incorrect sterotyping!

Editor’s Note:  The views expressed in this post are not necessarily the views held by this Blog’s Writer/Editor.  Please take with a grain of salt, and please come back!  All posts by Darryl will be placed in the new category: Darryl’s Rant.

Winter.  My favourite season.  For about three months.  Then I grow tired of it, and I want the warmer months again.  But not for the same reason as you might share – I can’t stand how pathetic our winters here are.  Or ugly.  Seriously, who wants to see asphalt from november to march?  It is W I N T E R!!!!!!  Minus 5 to 15 should be daily highs! not nightly lows. With snowy roads.  Lotsa snow.

snow riot

(fun picture)

So, to help you stay on the road a little better this winter, allow me to shed some insight into winer driving that de-mystifies how you actually make it from home to work and back again without dying.

In no particular order of importance:

#1.  Black ice.

(see previous post)

#2. Going off the edge.

Hoochie_ditch

No you aren’t.  How have you made it this far in life and are still alive to talk about it.  For some reason, this seems to be a pervasive fear, particularly with women (though some guys probably lie about it).  Ladies, you probably aren’t as terrible a driver as you think you are, and you probably have more control when driving then you think you do.

Actually, really watch “Canada’s worst driver”.  They’ve got excellent tips on how to get to where you are going, like look where you want to go.  This one thing alone is proven to keep more people on the road in icy conditions than most anything else.  It may seem obvious, but I still rescue quite a few people every year who have 4wheel or all-wheel or front-wheel drive and perfectly good tires.  Almost every time I’ve gone off the road, this is why.

As a matter of a fact, just a couple of nights ago I rescued a couple of young ladies who got their car stuck in my driveway (they weren’t visiting me, I don’t know why they were there) .  Glad to be of help.

But seriously, what makes you think you are going off the edge anyways?   Or that you might?  Practice good winter driving, and the rest will take care of itself.  Works just as true on corners as on hills.

Another consideration to have is that it is slippery out there, so just flow with it if your vehicle moves a little to the side when rounding a corner.  It’s probably okay.  “Out of control” is a misnomer most often.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, most accidents are “driver error”, not “happenstance & circumstance”.  You always have some measure of control, even if it’s just not freezing up in terror.   Here are a couple of good tips for you:

Firstly, if you take a corner too fast, and your steering wheel is turned too far and the vehicle starts sliding in a straight direction, do these things, in this order: Don’t touch the brakes – panicking will make you lock up the brakes and exacerbate the situation.  Let off the accelerator. Turn the steering back towards center, until the tires regain traction again – turning back toward disaster may sound insane, but it’s your best chance.  As you regain traction while decelerating, gently attempt to turn more in the direction you wish to go – looking in the direction you want to go.  If you’re looking at the tree you’re heading toward, count on hitting it.  As you are able, gently accelerate through the corner and TA DA! You have successfully navigated a slippery corner.  If you feel you have control, you may gently apply brakes in the corner, but this can be a dangerous manoeuvre, and should be exercised with caution.  Anything but the most modern ABS braking could give you serious grief.

#3. Crazy Driving. This is a good idea.  My dad did this every winter, and I do the exact same.  At the beginning of every winter, find yourself a long quiet road (usually not a residential street with possible kids around) or a parking lot and throw your car around a little.  Start slow, and work your speed up.  Practice losing control and regaining it.  Just getting the feel for how your vehicle handles when sliding is immeasurable.  You’ll thank me later for it, trust me.   And for those of you who believe I’m suggesting icing up the road and making it difficult for others, keep in mind that someone is coming behind you shortly to plow and sand anyways, and you’ve actually made the roads literally safer now that you’re that much smarter and less likely to lock up in fear during an unexpected event.

car on ice

So go ahead.  Remember, God wants you to ENJOY the winter season.  Not dread it.

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