I’m not a fan of winter. I know that’s not very “Montanan” to say. But frankly, it can be quite cold and dark and the roads aren’t very fun to drive on sometimes. I should be used to it, considering I grew up in the frigid winters of Northeastern Montana. But I’m not. Winter is good for one thing – skiing. And to be perfectly honest with you, I might just give that up if it meant having an extra month to hit 9 holes after work.
Course there are some aspects about winter that I’m just certain others share in my distaste. Winter driving, without a doubt, is one of them.
I remember being a high school sophomore with a fresh driver’s license in hand. I hopped into my 1978 Chevy Monza – a little rear wheel drive hatchback that was “winterized” by throwing two large tubes of sand in the trunk. The Monza wasn’t exactly meant to tackle the tough elements. It was lightweight and low to the ground – but at least she started (most of the time). Nonetheless, I packed my friends inside the car and we headed out for a night of buzzing around town. (In a town of 650 people, driving around town was an exciting evening!) I remember pulling up to a stop sign from the gravel road that lead from my friend’s house, looking both ways, and then trying desperately to accelerate up a very small approach and bring the car onto the main road. I wasn’t very successful. I tried again, and once more. At that point, the rear wheels caught hold of some gravel and I was propelled forward at a somewhat alarming rate. With my steering wheel cranked to the right, my car went straight forward. So, being the experienced teenage driver that I was, I stomped on the brake – sending the car into a series of 360s and eventually sliding like an out of control Zamboni machine to the edge of the road.
I thought the whole situation was hilarious. After all, there were no cars headed in our direction and no damage to the car. My two buddies riding along didn’t quite think the same way. In fact, they were no longer interested in riding in the Monza at all!
Not that this one instance ruined my lifelong outlook on the winter season. Nor was it my last unpleasant experience with icy roads. But it certainly reminds me that this time of year is a good time to get my ducks in a row for the inevitable snowfall. Masterlube.com has just published a “Winter Driving Tips” article about how to prepare your car for the cold, wet and slippery months of winter. There is also a great link to the Winter Survival Guide published by the Montana Department of Transportation within the story.
It’s almost hard to say this as I write this blog entry on a 70 degrees day on November 2nd! But remember to drive carefully this winter – take it slow on bad roads and prepare yourself and your car for the freezing temps to come.