The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Two Basic Fears of Snow-Driving

on February 1, 2013

Yes.  I just gave an “Olympics’-official” name to the process of traveling from one place to another via a vehicular transportation module when snow is descending/has descended upon one’s world.  The process of driving in the snow is so detail-oriented that it deserves to be recognized as an official somethingorother.  There are numerous stimuli approaching the driver, stimuli that must be processed immediately in order to avoid fatalities (of street lamps, non-hibernating squirrels, grassy knolls, or drivers).  As drivers process this stimuli, their goals can be summed up by identifying two basic fears.

1. Not Going

2. Going

You understand perfectly, don’t you?  Just in case something is unclear, allow me to elaborate.

Image

1. Not Going: I encountered this problem a while back…on two occasions during my first massive Minnesota snow.  The first incident occurred when, after coming to a complete stop at a stop sign (I’m such a law-abiding citizen), I couldn’t go.  My tires spun, whirring to me that they had lost traction.  Yes, my tires talk to me.  I waved the people behind me around while I tried to figure out what to do next.  Luckily, I was on the “up” of a mild incline.  I was able to roll backwards a bit and find enough traction to propel myself forward through the intersection…all the way to the next one where I did not come to a complete stop.  Don’t judge.  

The second incident was a bit closer to home…like…in my driveway.  I came home to find that our street had been plowed–yea!  And the plows had left a nice little present…a pile of snow blocking our driveway.  It was late-ish in the evening and I was feeling lazy, so I decided that I would just bully my way over the pile of snow.  Umm, no.  I got stuck…my front tires didn’t even make it over.  There was no going for me.  About half an hour later, after shoveling, carefully arranging some cardboard, and reversing in first gear, I was able to get out into the street so that I could properly shovel the driveway.  

These incidents are minor compared to problems that other drives have dealt with when, for whatever reason, their cars don’t go.  They might get smacked from behind.  They might get stranded without any food, water, or electric blankets!  So, you can see how “not going” can be particularly problematic.  Let’s leave this tragedy behind though and move on to the other problem/fear.

2. Going: It seems strange that, right after discussing the problem of “not going” we should move on to a problem of “going.”  It will make sense though…hang with me.

Snow and ice are ridiculously slippery (just in case you live in Ecuador and don’t know about these things…PS: if you live in Ecuador, I’m psyched that you are reading my blog).  So, when approaching a stop sign, there is always the risk that the car will not stop.  Or, there’s a risk that the front wheels will decide that they are ready to stop, but the rear wheels come to the conclusion that there are a lot of inequalities in the world and attempt to slide up alongside the front wheels.  No one enjoys this very much…particularly the driver sitting above this sibling duel.

Oh…my experiences with “going?”  I made about three lights flash on my dashboard earlier this week because I braked so hard and long.  About twelve hours later, my dashboard was back to normal.  That’s totally safe, right?

Clearly…I am not an expert when it comes to driving in snowy/icy/wintery conditions.   I summed up years of experience (which I don’t have) in two small points.  Any more experienced extreme sports enthusiasts care to comment?

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