Bomb Cyclone?! Is that like Sharknado?
Not quite. If you've been watching the news around here the last couple of days, you've probably heard the term "bomb cyclone" being thrown around. I'm not a meteorologist, so I'm not going to try and explain exactly what a bomb cyclone is. Just suffice it to say that a bomb cyclone leads to lots of cold, wind, snow, and ice. When those conditions exist, the roads get bad and driving gets even more harrowing than driving normally is.
Would you happen to have any tips for driving in such conditions?
I sure do! And here they are:
- Don't drive unless you have to! You might have all the confidence in the world in your own driving, but you shouldn't put a lot of confidence in the driving ability of strangers (this is called "defensive driving," by the way). Add in some slippery road conditions and you have a recipe for disaster that should absolutely be avoided if at all possible.
- Don't stop unless you have to. When the roads are slick, your brakes are going to lock up a lot more easily than they typically would. If there's something in the road or if someone is stopped in front of you, it's better to go around slowly and deliberately if you can.
- If you must stop, give yourself plenty of space. On slick roads, the normal amount of pressure applied to your brakes will lock them up. You'll need to give yourself a lot of room to stop, apply very light pressure to your brakes, and be very deliberate about the stopping motion.
- Don't tailgate! Under normal conditions, you should be allowing anywhere between two and four seconds between yourself and the car in front of you. When it's wintry outside, you need to make that eight to ten seconds. Go slowly and keep a close eye on any cars in front of you.
- When going uphill, slow and steady is the name of the game. The most important thing on an uphill slope is momentum. Build some speed (reasonably, of course) and keep your momentum as you go up the hill. Don't stop, and don't accelerate any more than you have to.
- Remove ALL of the snow and ice from your car before driving. Don't just defrost a face-sized area of the windshield, and don't leave eight inches of snow piled up on the hood and roof. Clear both windshields of ice completely so that you can, you know, see, and remove all of the snow from your car so it doesn't fly off and hit somebody else.
Nice! Anything else?
Yep. Here are some sweet car hacks!
- Spray vinegar on the windshield to prevent snow from sticking.
- Put a sock full of cat litter on the dashboard to prevent the windshield from fogging up.
- If you don't have cat litter, you can put shaving cream on the inside of the windshield. Wipe it off after a minute and your windshield will officially be de-fogged.
- Park your car facing east, and the sun will begin to melt the snow as soon as it comes up.
- Put some hand sanitizer on your car key so it doesn't freeze in the door.
- Wrap your side mirrors in plastic bags to keep snow and ice from sticking to them.
- Put cooking spray on the rubber seal on the inside of your car doors to keep your doors from freezing shut.
- Use your floor mats for extra traction if you get stuck.
Be careful out there, folks!