What’s Worse than Snow before Christmas? Snow before Thanksgiving!

It’s November 17th, and Northern Kentucky woke up to about three inches of snow on the ground. Ugh.

As soon as I heard about the potential for snow, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere near a grocery store yesterday. On top of the usual influx of Sunday shoppers, there would be those buying enough bread, milk, and eggs to last a week. This stockpiling is ridiculous for a couple reasons.

First, here is what I71 looked like from our office window as of 9:25 today, the morning after the snow fell:

11-17-snow-highway.jpg (425x567)

No snow, just wet. Even the side roads were clear by about 8:00 a.m. Here is the road outside our office, which ironically leads directly to Meijer, a grocery store.

11-17-snow.jpg (425x567)

So no need to panic and buy everything off the shelves, folks, because the roads were clear well before noon.

Second, even if the roads weren’t completely clear, it is still possible to get around, as long as you’re careful and keep a few things in mind. Here are some tips from the kings of road safety, the American Automobile Association (AAA):

 

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding 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.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten 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, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. 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 just starts your wheels spinning. 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 as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Something else to keep in mind is that no matter what kind of car you drive, you still need to take it easy. I have all-wheel drive on my car, which makes me feel much safer driving in the snow, but I’m still cautious when the roads are icy or snow-covered. And just because you have a four-wheel drive vehicle with super-traction tires doesn’t mean the guy next to or behind you does.

It looks like we might be in for a long winter, so buckle up, be careful, take your time, and stop buying all the milk!