Surviving Winter on
the St. Louis "Driving Ranges"
Winter driving in St. Louis
can be challenging, esp. when winter weather is at its worst. The
weather can be snow, sleet, freezing rain, a mixture of frozen precipiation,
or just plain cold rain. If its just plain cold rain, St. Louisians
can simply follow the rules of driving on a rainy Spring or Summer day.
Else, you have to deal with each seperately.
Here are a couple hyperlinks
to check road conditions: Illinois
(Metro East), Missouri.
Regardless of the weather,
one needs to carry basic supplies in the trunk and/or passenger seat of
their vehicle just in case things do go wrong:
What to do in the case
Couple small candles and matches
(a lighter works best, however).
A small shovel. This should
be one that removes both snow and ice. The basic snow shovel just
doesn't cut it with ice -- they will break.
An ice scraper/brush.
Your windshield wipers do not get the job done in winter weather, especially
when frozen precripation is falling from the sky. The ice scraper
must be strong enough to break potentially thick layers of ice.
Snack bars. They can be
your favorite candy bar if you prefer. This provides you with some
Jumper cables. Sometimes
a car battery will not start in cold weather and jumper cables hooked onto
another car's battery will be needed to get your car jumpstarted.
Small blanket. This is
to keep you warm. One should dress in heavy layers of clothing while
in car as long as it does not hamper driving abilities.
Car phone. Make sure it
is fully charged. Use this when you get stuck in snow or ice, a collsion
with another vehicle(s), or in case of car trouble.
Ice can be one big pain in
the you-know-where, especially when it comes to pure ice or freezing rain.
This goes double when either driving in it and/or driving in nightime conditions,
as "black ice" is a possibility. Here are the few tips versus ice
What to do in the case
Best tip of all: stay
home. In that case, you keep cars off the road by just declaring
an SAD (snow appreication day) from work.
Carry an extra gallon of windshield
wiper fluid and/or antifreeze in your car trunk.
Carry an extra ice scraper or
two just in case the one you're using breaks.
If your car door is frozen shut,
use an hair dryer to thaw it. Hot water eventually freezes on the
surface and should only be used as a last resort.
Given my choice between ice
and snow, I'd take snow due to two things: At least snow has traction,
and is much easier to drive on than ice. However, one still must
take it slow out there.
If you can, declare an SAD and
stay home. If you got kids, chances are that school will be cancelled
or dismissed early due to snow and finding child care can be impossible.
If you can't declare an SAD,
try to get a ride with a person who drives a 4WD, or leave home much eariler
than usual and take your time. Speed makes no sense in snowy weather,
so take it slow.