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It’s winter in Michigan. Must I point out that more often than not the roads are going to be bad? Well, on the good days, the radio news guy calls them “bad.” On the worse days, he calls them “treacherous.”

So, I have to ask: what’s the hurry? Granted, Wednesday morning was a bit unusual with something like 450 schools and universities closed across the state. But take last Tuesday for example. Another bad day here in western Michigan. I had a conference in Grand Rapids. So we left a few minutes earlier. No need to rush. And it didn’t hurt when we walked in 15 minutes late either (ok, so stopping for Starbucks en route was the cause of that). But we still saw umpteen “slide-offs” and small accidents, and even an over-turned Jeep Grand Cherokee.

But I wonder: the people with SUVs, why don’t you keep it in 4×4 on days like that? I have no problems (knock on wood!) when I keep my Pathfinder in 4×4. But I’ve watched SUVs slide off into the median or the side when seemingly going slowly and cautiously. I know it doesn’t matter on ice whether you have 2, 4, or 24 wheels working for you… you will probably slide wherever anyway.

And that brings up another thought. It’s ICY. So don’t hit your brakes when traffic slows! That will put you into a spin or tail-slide every time. Utilize your engine; downshift. You can do this with an automatic too! You know those gears labeled “2” and “1” right below “D”? Those are lower gears! Your engine can slow you down without applying brake pressure.

I must laugh at the people who are out there in the Mustangs and Porsche Boxsters this week (yes, I saw you!). You people have great cars, no doubt about that. BUT, your cars generate too much power to the back end to drive in weather like this. Just park your cars for another 2 months and revisit them in the spring. Besides, you’ll save yourself the damage from all the salt you will pick up while driving.

And for goodness sakes, please put down the cell phone! John Tesh told me the other night (yes, he’s growing on me) that a driver on a cell phone is just as distracted and unable to react as a drunken driver. (!) Yikes! Put that on ice or slush or snow and that is what I call treacherous!

Be smart people. Use 4×4. The gas mileage won’t be that much different. Add weight to your vehicle’s power-bearing end if you don’t have 4×4. And slow down.

Thank you.

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One thought on “Use Caution (or, It Happens Every Year)

  1. Pingback: Housekeeping « Thursday Morning Meditations

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