Speaking of snow.... ;>)

  1. Hey, ya'll...here's a question. My husband and I have been debating where we want to move (I'm willing to go just about anywhere as long as it's no longer here!!!) and have a short list of possibilities. Half of them are in areas where it snows (ie, Maine, Colorado, Montana, etc.). Now, I have never in my life been around snow- it snowed here twice in my short lifetime, and the first it barely stuck to the ground through morning (maybe snowed 1/2 inch?) and the second it lasted only a day and wasn't really a big deal (maybe 2 inches? I don't know crap about snow...). I don't consider that really 'snowing', and was wondering if you guys had some insights for us? We're wondering about special precautions (I don't know...snow blowers? Heating the cars? Chains on the tires? What else is there?), etc. I'm not looking to be dissuaded here, just wondering realistically what it's like to live in snowy areas. Is it dangerous to drive? What do you do if you're snowed in? How do you get to work? Have you ever been stuck at the hospital and unable to leave? Am I going to drive my car into a snow bank and freeze to death trying to cook my own thigh meat with the car lighter for sustenance? You know, gimme the scoop. Thanks!! I'm almost afraid to read what you people are going to write. (biting nails)

    -Me, who has only lived in 90 degree swampy heat for 25 years
    Last edit by NICU_Nurse on Aug 28, '03
  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   kewlnurse
    Snow sucks. Driving in it isn't that bad if you know what you are doing. You won't. Thoses of us who know how to drive in it get pissed by those who don't, which is 95% of the population, even when people have lived in snaw area's their whole life. You won't need tire chains, in fact i think they are illegal around here, they chew up the road. Live in the burbs, they have much better street service. They city of Buffalo's plowing is a total joke, my little side street in the burbs is plowed better than the main streets in the city. Carry a blanket, slat (raod salt, not table), small shiovel and a change of cloths maybe an energy bar if you must, i never do, but I have never been stopped by the snow, cept whjen i was in high school and wanted to spend the night at a girl's house .All in all you will learn to despise the snow. stay where it is warm.
  4. by   aimeee
    Kewl makes good points. I've lived in the northlands all my life and the first thing you must have is a healthy respect for the hazards of winter driving. The number one rule when driving on snowing icy roads is NO SUDDEN MOVES. You have to use a whole different set of skills than those that come intuitively to you when driving on normal roads. The number two rule is the boy scout motto: Be prepared. Smart folks do as Kewl does and carry a BLIZZARD KIT as soon as the weather starts to turn.

    Mine is similar and includes: shovel, sand or kitty litter (good for traction), really warm and waterproof boots, wool hat, insulated gloves, bottled water, raisins, flashlight and batteries new and still in the package, blanket, chemical hand warmers (they sell these in sporting stores for hunters)

    Your winter driving skills won't be good because of your inexperience, so the best rule for you will be to stay home when the roads are crappy or catch a ride with an experienced driver. Part of the skill is recognizing when conditions are beyond what you are equipped to cope with and when you should stay home.

    I've been in the ditch exactly once, and that was last year when a farmer was plowing out his driveway and left a big ridge in my way that caused me to slide sideways on a hill. No big deal because he was there to pull me out. I got to work fine. Staff that lived less than half the distance didn't.

    As for a snowblower, it can save you a ton of work when you get a major snow dump. Definitely recommended if you have a large driveway or any back problems. Chains are only used on emergency vehicles in emergency situations. Some people choose snow tires, though others say that the difference between snow tires and a good set of all season radials is minimal. In any case, note the word GOOD. Good tread is an absolute requirement.

    Winters in Colorado, Maine, and Montana are serious business. Everybody pulls together in adversity and it gives people a common bond and something to complain about. Most people who grew up in the South find it hell, and so do a good many who grew up in the north!
  5. by   semstr
    All of the above and a good heatingsystem in the house.

    Never go outside when you're drunk and it's freezing and snowing, stay put and drink on!!

    Move to Norway or Sweden, now they have winters!!
    You don't get daylight for weeks!

    Take care, Renee
  6. by   WashYaHands
    agree to all of the above.

    Wherever you decide to move, take your car/truck to an empty parking lot and hot dog a little (turn sharp, slam on your brakes) to get a feel for what it's like to slide around and learn how to come out of a slide without using your brakes. Just make sure you stay away from poles. This will also give you an opportunity to become familiar with how your vehicle handles in the snow and ice. Drive slow and try to stay away from other cars as much as possible. Keep a good distance from the person in front of you. Driving on newly fallen fresh snow isn't too bad as you can still maintain traction as long as it's not too deep. The problems occur when the fresh snow melts during the day and then refreezes over night and more new snow covers the ice. It can be deceiving.
    I've never used chains or snow tires. Our road crews are very good about plowing and applying gravel to slick spots and hills. In some areas if the conditions are really bad, they close the interstate. In Colorado, it really depends on where you live as weather patterns are different in all locations. The higher the altitude, the more snow you will encounter.
    During very terrential storms, some communities here have volunteers that will pick up essential hospital personnel (that would be nurses) and take them to and from work, but that is in emergency situations.

  7. by   night owl
    I think one of the most important things about driving in the snow is "take your time". If you get to work late, so what. At least you there in one piece! Keep your distance from the guy in front of you. If you have to use your brakes suddenly, pump them, you won't slide as much if at all. Always have a full tank of gas in case you're stuck. You don't want to run out, then you won't have heat while you're waiting for someone to pull you out. Get a cell phone if you don't already have one so you can call for help if you need it. Use common sense. If you think it's too bad, then don't drive.
    Once I had to stay over at work because no one came in. It was probably better that way. The roads were treacherous, and I have an hour drive from Jersey to Pennsylvania...on a good day. Would have taken me three at least. I really hate this time of year because it NEVER snows on my days off and I always have to fight the snow and the traffic. I just hope that this year I get a break and it does snow on some of my days off. Did you hear that Lord??? Sometimes I think He ignores me...
  8. by   betts

    December 13: 6:00 PM.
    It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!
    December 14:
    We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a lovelier place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I've ever had. I shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.
    December 15:
    The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry; we'll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by the end of winter that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is so nice. I'm glad he's our neighbor.
    December 16:
    Snow, lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.
    December 17:
    20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.
    December 18:
    Ice storm this morning. Fell on my behind on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like heck. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.
    December 19:
    Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her. God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own home.
    December 20:
    Electricity's back on, but had another 14" of the white stuff last night. More shoveling. Took all day. DARN snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have another! @#$%#&*($$% shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.
    December 22:
    Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white stuff fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to use the bathroom. By the time I got undressed, went to the bathroom and dressed again. I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy. I think the @*&!! is lying.
    December 23:
    Only 2" of snow today. And it warmed up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she...nuts??? Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she's lying.
    December 24:
    Snowed 6 more inches. Snow packed so hard by snowplow, l broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the @#$%& who drives that snowplow, I'll drag him through the snow by his hair. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was busy watching for the =3D3D@x@!x! X1*& snowplow.
    December 25:
    Merry Christmas. 20 more inches of the! =3D3D@x@!x! X1 slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she's nuts. If I have to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" one more time, I'm going to kill someone!
    December 26:
    Still snowed in. Why did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She's really getting on my nerves.
    December 27: Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze.
    December 28: Warmed up to above -50. Still snowed in. THE WIFE is driving me crazy!!!
    December 29:
    10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard!!! How dumb does he think I am?
    December 30:
    Roof caved in. The snowplow driver is suing me for a million dollars for the bump on his head. The wife went home to her mother. They're predicting 9" more.
    December 31:
    Set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.
    January 8:
    I feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me.
    "Why am I tied to the bed??????????????"
  9. by   Jenny P
    Tire chains are illegal in quite a number of states and are only legal for semis in other states. I have had snow tires in the past; but a set of all season radials with GOOD tread works much better. A front wheel drive is much easier to drive in snow than rear wheel drive vehicles.
    I never change my speed or lanes when driving on a bridge or deck, I have seen so many accidents because someone decides to speed up or slow down or switch lanes while on a bridge and the roadway is icy. Give yourself and every other driver room to get out of the way of accidents.
    Always have a small shovel, kitty litter, a full tank of gas, and a winter survival kit in the car when travelling in the winter. The survival kit includes: (and can be packed in) a large coffee can, a space blanket, candles, matches, a smaller tin can, toilet paper, flashlight with new batteries, and hard candies or trail mix. You also need to have warm waterproof boots, warm jacket, insulated gloves, warm hat, heavy duty snowbrush and ice scraper with you in the car whenever you are out driving. And a cell phone has definitely saved a few lives here in Mn. these past few years.
    If you are stuck in a ditch or on the road, NEVER leave your car to go get help! Getting cold or wet can cause a rapid loss of body heat, which may cloud your thinking and put you in danger of losing your life. Use the space blanket, put on the warm boots, coat, hat and gloves. Lighting a candle in one of the tin cans will produce enough heat to keep you warm, run the car motor only 10 minutes out of each hour. You can melt snow in the other coffee can to drink warm water if you are stuck any length of time (sorry, Amy, but bottled water has always frozen for me and those bottles don't thaw out well).
    My first car was a '71 Pontiac Firebird with a huge engine and a light body. I was in the ditch more than out of it while I had that car, and I've never been in the ditch since. I do remember spending some tense hours in the ditch once back then; it's always important to stay calm.
    If you keep your wits about you, plan ahead, and don't take stupid chances, you won't mind winter at all. (Of course, you have to know that I moved from northern Minnesota to southern Mn. for the warmer weather!)
  10. by   NICU_Nurse
    Wow!!! That 'I love snow' thing hit home more than you know- my husband is swearing to me that if we move somewhere it snows, he may jump ship and leave the snow 'preperation' to me because it was my idea. He wants to move to the beach. ;>) Here's another question: What is your morning routine when you know it's been snowing all night? How do you insure that your car will start so that you can leave for work? How do you know how long you'll need to blow the driveway before you're clear to drive? Etc. As I mentioned, this whole thing is foreign and fascinating to me. Down here, we have to take precautions, but they're more like: Wake up, go outside, open the car door, get hit in the face with a cloud of agonizing steam that burns your nasal hair, start the A/C running to cool off the leather interior so your ass doesn't fry when you sit down in the driver's seat, go back inside, get ready to leave taking care to wear as little clothing as possible, apply makeup as usual, go outside, open car door, get hit in face with cloud of heat that melts your makeup, ask yourself why you bother applying makeup in the first place, sit in car and burn your ass on the seat anyway, realize that the A/C isn't working in your car, roll all the windows down while cursing up a storm and wiping melted foundation off your cheeks, drive to work hanging your head out the window like a dog, get to toll plaza and frantically reach under warped dashboard that has buckled and curled up from the heat for loose change, etc. You get the idea. It's a bit different than ya'll, I'm sure. I keep telling myself (and my hubby), 'Hey, it's a challenge! An adventure!'. I'm sure given twelve months up there I'll be saying, 'It's a...mistake!' ROFL. Thanks for all the advice!! My husband would like to add this; he'll be typing this message:

    Please convince this crazy girl not to move me into an igloo I beg you. have mercy. i'm a nice guy, really.

    End of message. ;>)

    Thanks again!
  11. by   nurs4kids
    stay south, girl. we're so pathetic in snow that snow chains ARE allowed down here...it's the only way we can manage those big 3" snows, yanno!!!

  12. by   Lausana

    I don't live in one of the states you mentioned, but as much as I hate snow & complain about it, we don't get that much here, comparatively speaking. And after a few big storms hit each year you feel like a pro again!

    On the upside-its wonderful to see the seasons change and have different types of weather than balmy heat!! But even more than the snow-I think the cold temperatures can be a shock. We just have a dusting of snow right now, but todays high is going to be 20 degrees, adding in wind chill it will feel like 0 to -10!! The cold wind is bone chilling. brrrrr.

    One thing I've learned about driving in snow is--turn lanes are always going to be very slick even when the roads have been plowed etc, they can look deceiving too!. I'd say a half hour is enough time to warm up the car in the morning & get windows scraped or defrosted--Not that I ever do!! I am notoriously running late in the morning & usually do a quick scrape job and use the windshield washer fluid to clean it off what's left. I even doused the windshield in my mountain dew once when I ran out of washer fluid!

    You never really get used to driving in the snow, since there are so many different kinds-so just drive cautiously, other people still have a need to speed even in bad weather!

    Good Luck!
  13. by   aimeee
    Kristi-The only way you know how long it will take you to clear the driveway is experience. And even then its hard to tell until you get out there and see just how much snow there is and what type. 6" of white fluffy powder is pretty easy to clear, but 6" of heavy wet stuff may take 2 or 3 times as long.

    If you don't have a garage then you probably want to allow 2-5 minutes of warm up time for the engine so your windows don't immediately fog/ice back over. It will usually take you a while to scrape off all the snow/frost/ice from the windows though, so by then the car is usually warm enough.
    You will want a LONG coat to cover as much of your skimpy nursing uniform as possible. Keep some warm clothes in the car with you (like a pair of insulated coveralls)

    A new battery, or at least a fully charged one, is the first step toward making sure your car will start. The garage or auto parts store can guide you to the right number of cold cranking amps necessary for your size engine. If you have a place to plug it in at night you can recharge it now and then with a trickle charger. They aren't very expensive. Also have your antifreeze checked and I always put brand new wiper blades on in the fall.

    Here are some great links about winter driving and winterizing your car:

    Grand Forks, ND winter checklists

    Car Talks Winter Driving Tips

    Car Talks Winter Breakdown Index
  14. by   semstr
    Here snow chains are legal and up in the mountains spikes are legal too, you are allowed to drive the highways though.
    Everybody changes their "summer tires" for "winter tires"

    What I personally do, when I hear the familar scraping on the streets (I would recognize that sound when in coma ), even before opening my eyes, think about what to wear, and leave my car at home and take the metro. (easy, when you live downtown)

    Take care, Renee