If you are new to Erie, or perhaps adjusting to the snowy commute, here are some tips for surviving the slick roads brought to you by lake effect snow.
- Since beginning my journey at Gannon only a few short months ago, I have already met a few students who have yet to experience snow at all. Having lived here my entire life, I receive that information with a chuckle and a warning: “buckle up.”I mean that not only metaphorically, but also literally. You seriously have to prepare yourself mentally for the fact that until May, it is quite possible that you will not see the ground. The sooner you come to terms with this, the better. You may even find yourself enjoying the winter wonderland that is our town. The second part of this tip is to literally always buckle up when you are in a car. Even if you are a confident and experienced winter driver, there are people on the roads who have no idea what they are doing as well as people who are a bit too sure of their skills. Please make sure to buckle up while in the car this winter, because as a wise man once said, “It is better to be safe than sorry.”
- Secondly, take it slow.I think the same wise man also said, “It is better to get there late than never to get there at all!” In inclement weather, it is always a good idea to make sure you are maintaining a controllable speed. This may cause you to have to wake up and leave the house a bit earlier, but it is worth it. Even though you may be used to going 50 miles per hour on 12th Street, when the road is covered in snow and ice, you could slip and slide right into the McDonald’s parking lot. Take it from me; I had a 30-minute commute to high school from Waterford, Pennsylvania that required me to drive on some under-maintained roads. One day, in the middle of the winter on my way home, even though I was driving under the speed limit, the conditions caused me to spin out and land in a ditch (and thankfully not into oncoming traffic). From then on, I’ve always driven as slow as I need to in order to feel comfortable and in control. And I don’t care what the drivers behind me say.
- One huge problem with driving in the winter is parking. Your favorite spot may be piled up with snow, so park somewhere else!
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone perch their car on top of a snow mound and then wonder why they can’t get out. If this does happen, you need to gather up some strong people you know to help you. You have to shovel out as much as you can of the area around and under your car, then rock it back and forth until your tires have enough traction to drive you out. Also, if a snow plow pushes snow into a wall next to your car or at the end of your driveway, try to shovel it out before driving over it because you might get stuck. I wish you the best of luck with your winter parking endeavors.
- Finally, prepare your car for the worst. Before it’s too late, I advise that you invest in some winter tires for your car. During an Erie winter, normal tires can turn into ice skates before your eyes. Also, it may be a good idea to keep a warm blanket in your car just in case something happens and you get stuck or slide off the road. Waiting for help can be a very cold process. Make sure you have your phone on you so that you can call for help or a tow truck if you need to.
I know it sounds scary, but if you follow these tips, you will be okay.
Erie is an awesome city and the winter weather just kind of goes with it. Please be careful driving in the snow, and have a happy holiday!