Well, we did it again; we made national news for awful weather. In Ankeny, where Rob, Erin and I live, we had a blizzard that dumped 8 inches of snow on us October 19, and just eight miles north of us Polk City got 9.2 inches.
ABC, The Washington Post, Forbes, Fox News and others all covered it.
My husband Paul, who is a bit of a weather geek, knew that colder weather was expected, so he hurried to get the grass mowed, the leaves picked up and the gutters cleaned while it was still reasonably comfortable to work outside. But nobody expected snow, for goodness sake . . . and so much of it!
Although the official start of winter isn’t until December 21, given what we’ve already experienced, perhaps we should share this list of cold-weather-driving and driving-in-snow tips from AAA with you now, just in case. With coronavirus, a derecho and an mid-October blizzard, apparently we need to be prepared for anything.
Cold Weather Driving Tips
- Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets and medications.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
- Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Don't use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.
Tips for Driving in the Snow
- Stay home if you can. Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
- Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
- Don’t stop going up a hill. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.