Thursday, March 1, 2007

Carol's rules for safe driving in severe winter weather

My motto (for driving) is: I drive like an old lady so I can be one.

Some rules occurred to me as I was driving to work today and others came to me because of things I heard in the newsroom - especially over the police scanner.

1) Make sure you need to go out. If you don't need to go out, then don't. If you must go out, make sure you know where you are going and why. Don't make extra trips.

2) Realize that the roads are slick and you can't stop on a dime. Give yourself leeway by slowing down before you get to the intersection. Also, you can't just start driving. Ease into it a little bit, or you will fishtail. If you have a car next to you, you could hit it if you aren't careful.

3) Be careful and assume that everyone else on the road isn't. Act like they are either first-time drivers who don't know what they are doing or that they are actively trying to kill you with their cars. Stay away from the other drivers.

4) Drive slowly with wipers going (if it's still snowing) and your lights on. Even if it's daytime. Having your lights on helps other drivers see you and hopefully avoid you.

5) If you are driving and get stuck, stay with your car unless it's falling into a river or something. Don't get out and start walking to your destination, especially if you are in the country. Don't make law enforcement start looking for you between Moorland and Rockwell City, for example. (About 18 miles between the two?)

6) If school is out and businesses are closing, don't get into your little two-door car and head for the mall. Stay home. (See rule No. 1.)

7) The usual: Have a winter survival kit in your car, a shovel, etc. We only have one shovel and I left it at home, thinking that maybe my family might need it. I could always go to Wal-Mart and get one before going to stay the night at Mom's, right? Wrong. They closed Wal-Mart. They closed Wal-Mart.

I'll be going to bed now. It's been an interesting (rough) day and I think tomorrow promises more of the same. I'll be sleeping in a recliner for the second night in a row and I left my prescription ibuprofen at home. I haven't seen my kids since yesterday and don't know if I will be able to go home tomorrow. But, I've got a place to stay, food to eat, and I'm safe and mostly warm. So I shouldn't complain. But I can, because unlike Sandy, I didn't give up complaining for Lent.

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