How to Drive in the Snow: A Missouri Tribute
What do you get when you mix 100,000 Missourians who don’t know how to drive (but then I repeat myself) and 5 inches of snow? Answer: a 2.5 hour commute home for yours truly last Thursday. Growing up in Chicago, 5 inches of snow wasn’t even enough to make the kids wonder if there would be a snow day the following morning. In St. Louis, if snow is even forecasted the next day, school is canceled!
As the work day drug on, the buzz began to grow around the office about the snowstorm and the impending doom! Rain and then snow?!? Or is it snow and then rain!?! WILL THEY LET US GO HOME EARLY? I HAVE KIDS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! When I finally did leave the office, I realized that whilst I learned how to drive in the snow in a 1985 Buick station wagon woodie, many of these St. Louisans never had that distinct pleasure. First of all, I only saw 3 plows in the entire 40 mile drive home. Only one of these plows actually had their plow down moving snow. Then there were the other drivers; cars off the road, moving very slowly, gunning the gas and digging themselves in or slamming on the breaks essentially turning their cars into giant out of control sleds. Sometimes, they would be stuck in a drift and rather than rocking the car back and fro, they got out, blocked the whole road and tried to dig themselves out with their hands.
At any rate, I came up with a few simple guidelines for all of the Missourians that need to learn how to drive in the snow. Since we all know MODot will never sufficiently plow the roads, we will have to fend for ourselves in the wintry wilderness.
1. Do not slam on the gas – at any point. It won’t make you go any faster and all it will accomplish is digging yourself into the snow or spinning out.
2. Don’t slam on the breaks. You will probably end up sliding and will lose control of the car. Try coasting at a lower speed and pumping the breaks when you do actually have to stop.
3. Don’t jerk the wheel around and try to make sharp turns. This, will also make you slide all over and look like a real Missouri driver.
4. If you find yourself stuck, try using a lower gear to ease out. You know, the other numbers on the dashboard … not P … not N … not D … not R …. one of the other ones. Or, you can try rocking the car to and fro, alternating between drive and reverse. What ever you do, don’t get out of the car in the middle of a busy road to try and dig out. There are probably more Missouri drivers out of control all around you that might not be able to stop their cars from sliding out of control.
Good luck to all. When the next 5 inch blizzard comes, you’ll be ready!