Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to Drive in Michigan, in 5ish Simple Steps.

Welp, Winter is upon us.  I had foolishly packed up my thickest winter coat in hopes that I wouldn’t have to use it until after we came back from Japan.

Photo courtesy of

Hey foot of snow in one day... Ugh, so ...I had to unpack a box this just to make sure I could continue to survive Michigan.

Oh, sorry, did I disturb you?
Has not moved since I made
 him go outside to pee earlier.
The storm hit us Sunday night/ Monday morning and is still delivering a pretty steady stream of snow and impaired outdoor vision.  Most places (including the area colleges!) had a snow day yesterday.  Unfortunately for both The Mister* and I, yesterday required some travel, we were not so lucky as to snuggle under a nice warm blanket all day, like SOME dogs I might know.

I found there were some perks to venturing out-
  • No line for a haircut, even on $9.99 haircut day!
  • The library’s DVD copy of “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar**” was available! (have watched it 3 times so far.)
  • The guy at the burrito place was SO bored that he gave me extra chicken without charging me just because I was someone to talk to for thirty seconds!
  • Almost no wait at the Dr.’s Office!

That’s right, yesterday I had to traipse out to the Dr.  For the record, I’m fine, I just needed to get some ducks in a row before exporting myself abroad.  

Actually, since the Dr. I use is currently in an office 30 miles from home, I called yesterday morning to see if I could reschedule:
Sure, I totally understand, ma’am.  Looks like our next available appointment is… February 16th at 3:15.  (I leave for Japan February 5)
…Back roads and crossed fingers it is!  I made it there and back, but I noticed a sincere lack of common sense from my fellow idiot drivers.  I thought it best to take a moment to remind everybody of a my top 5(ish) snow-driving pointers as we buckle-down for winter.

There is so little visibility out there that you can’t see anything but whiteness more than 10 feet in front of your car.  No, your head lights might not improve that for you.  But you know what it DOES do?  It lets everyone else know that there is a car coming from the opposite direction sooner than .5 seconds after you pass them.  No one wants to play street peekaboo with you.
without headlights

with headlights - hey look a car!
  1. Stop tailgating.
Do I have to explain this? You can’t stop reliably. You can’t slow down reliably. I’m not going to go any faster - because I can’t without losing control of my car and I enjoy not being in a giant death missile - and if a single thing goes wrong in this snow-pocalypse, you are 100% for sure going to go straight through my back window.

No one wants to play street peekaboo.  No one.
Me, when you suddenly WHIZ by going the opposite way without your headlights on in a damn Bilzzard.

4.  Think about others.
Pedestrians - is that car going too fast to stop, or going downhill?  Or Uphill?  Maybe don’t walk right in front of it.  IF it can stop in time to not hit you, it might become impossible to get the momentum for that car going again.  On the flip side of that, Drivers - YOU are in a nice warm car, pedestrians are outside in snow that is coming in SIDEWAYS.  It’s flipping cold.  Stop if you can and let them get somewhere inhabitable. Because karma.

  1.  HEADLIGHTS.  USE THEM.  LIVE TO SEE ANOTHER DAY BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN SEE YOU.  I seriously do NOT understand how many drivers did not have any lights on yesterday.  What the hell people?!
    James Bond would use his headlights.

Winter is so pretty, but between watching how ugly is can make people be to each other, and how it plays so strong into feeding my anxieties***, I’m ready to be anywhere minus snow for a few years.  Just 2 more months!

Did I miss any snow driving tips?  
Tell me in the comments!

*The Mister had to fly to Indiana yesterday for work.  That plane delayed more times than I have toes (for the record I have a normal amount of toes).  He didn’t make it to where he was supposed to until around 1am.  He was at the airport to fly out by 1pm.  Long day for him.

**To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995), is a campy, hilarious, and fantastic film starring Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo, and Stockard Channing.  It features cameos from Ru Paul, Robin Williams, and Julie Newmar.  It is about drag queens, and it is one of my all-time favorite movies.  My first job as a kid was as a video clerk (yes, just like Jeff), and To Wong Foo  was almost always playing over the store CC if I was working (that or Anastasia).  I can quote it forwards and backwards, and I loved how it annoyed my homophobic macho-man coworker.  What I’m saying is, if you haven’t seen it, put it on your list.  And if you have, it’s time for a re-watch.

***You know what sucks about winter and anxiety?  I get anxious when I think about something by immediately focusing on the worst possible scenario.  Sometimes these are totally ludicrous (e.g.: if I don’t do the dishes the house will implode and everyone will hate me).  But dangerous snow driving completely legitimizes my fears - the things I’m afraid will happen are totally possible and sometimes likely!  
The sticking point here is that my worst fear in snow driving is that I get in a car crash and Mac dies.  Which means Mac does not ride with me while driving in the snow.  Which means I am anxiously driving around without the service dog who tips me off to a panic attack before I panic and veer off the road to my own imminent death.  So… that’s probably great.  

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