This weekend marked the first real start of the official Minnesota winter, really bad weather. Although winter technically starts on an arbitrary date here in Minnesota it’s no official until you have a single night were over a foot of snow falls or pure ice accumulates. Saturday evening we had the later and likewise the local police departments were overrun with calls of accidents that had occurred.
I present to you a remind of how to drive in the winter. First when the weather turns to ice accumulation just stay home if possible. There isn’t anything you can do that will give you acceptable traction on ice. Some people of questionable intelligence seem to think having winter tires or four wheel drive allows them to drive on ice with impunity and they’re wrong. The largest number of vehicles I saw in the ditch on Sunday morning were four wheel drive trucks and SUVs. Be smart and realize when it’s icy you’re fucked.
Deep snow is another problem around these parts. Luckily snow is a place where winter tires and four wheel drive do give you advantages, they increase your traction. This does not mean you can drive a normal highway speeds through so don’t be that guy.
Eventually the mercury will start dropping fast and your survivability will decrease on the same scale. You should have a winter survival kit in your vehicle that consists of (at the very least) extra cloths (warm winter cloths, not t-shirts), cold weather sleeping bags, a fully charged jump pack (because jumper cables require another vehicle), and a shovel (I have an entrenching tool which is both compact and a good shovel). It is also wise to ensure you fuel tank is always at least half full.
Basically don’t be that poor schmuck who gets into a ditch in the middle of nowhere with the only cold weather gear at hand being the overly light coat that he’s wearing.