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Public Service Announcement for Those New to Snow

Today’s post is a public service announcement for those new to snow. I grew up in Florida and had zero experience with snow until I was an adult. I lived in Seattle for five years, but we didn’t have a lot of snow and when we did, frankly, I avoided driving because everything I needed was within walking distance. In Texas, we had ice days from time to time, but rarely did we have any snow. Since I was teaching at the time and ice days equated to inclement weather days, I simply didn’t drive until the roads thawed. Now that we live in Maryland, we have had several snow storms and the novelty has certainly worn off. Like it or not, I have to brave the roads from time to time, whether or not there is snow or ice.

For safe driving, I naively thought that scraping snow and ice off of your windshield and windows was sufficient for visibility. Oh, no. To be truly safe, scrape off as much snow from your roof as possible. To me, I had never thought to do that, until after driving for a little while with the car nice and warm, I stopped at a red light and all of the snow from my roof slid to my windshield. Luckily the first time it happened, it wasn’t a lot. I simply turned on my windshield wipers and wiped it away.

Today, I almost got into an accident. My windshield and windows were cleaned off of ice and snow, but I had a solid two or more inches of snow on the roof. I didn’t learn my lesson the first time, clearly. After driving for long enough for the car to be warmed up, I stopped at a red light and again the snow from my roof slid to my windshield. Except this time, there was so much snow, my windshield wipers were buried and simply could not push it all away.

I had a moment of panic when I realized I could not see anything in front of me and I was trying to drive on a busy street. Frankly, I did not want to stop in the middle of the street to cars coming from all directions. I opened my window and stuck my head out, driving very slowly until I could make a right on a side street and pull over. Once safely parked, I pushed the snow, so much snow, off of my windshield. I could hear my poor windshield squeaking under the snow. It reminded me of the chug-chug-chug of “I think I can, I think I can…” When I pushed away enough snow, the wipers moved as much as they could until I managed to get the rest off of the windshield.

I will readily admit my ignorance to how to live in winter conditions. I had never heard from anyone that one should wipe away snow from the roof of your car in addition to the windshield and windows. I more often than not, see plenty of cars on the road with an inch or more of snow on their roofs. I wonder if those drivers had never heard of clearing out snow from the roof as well.

So, if you are new to winter conditions, drive safe and don’t forget to scrape the snow and ice off your windshield or you might get into an accident. Luckily, nothing happened and all is well. Next time there is snow on my car, I will not neglect the roof.

Also, if you know to expect snow and ice, it's a good idea to lift your windshield wipers out. It is a pain to free the wipers when they are frozen solid to the windshield under layers of snow and ice.


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