10 Tips For Surviving Winter Weather In SWLA
I've lived in SWLA my whole life, and can count on one hand the number of times I've seen snow, ice-sickles, and other wintry weather wonders. Winter in SWLA usually means that during any given week you'll have 5 cold days, 1 really cold day, and 1 day warm enough to wear shorts and a tanktop. Very rarely do we have do deal with the types of things that our neighbors to the north accept as common daily inconveniences. The truth of the matter is that winter weather is dangerous, and has potential to be deadly, as we've unfortunately learned over the past week with several traffic fatalities due to driving in winter weather. Louisiana people as a whole are inexperienced with ice and snow, and things like our tires are not made for it. Our stores don't stock snow blowers or tire chains, "wintertime windsheild washer fluid" is very limited in supply, and not many people could even tell you what an ice scraper looks like.
Like you, I'm sure, I have a job, and places to go that don't necessarily care that the roadways are a death trap. I reached out via email to a few of my colleagues that live in places that see this weather five months out of the year, here were some tips to a Cajun in the snow.
1. No ice scraper? No problem! Old CD cases work pretty well, as do credit cards (or rigid plastic cards of that type), and I've also been told that a cheap plastic spatula will also work.
2. Put rubbing alcohol in your windshield washer fluid reservoir, or buy the specialized stuff at the auto parts store. (I went by a local store on Sunday, and it was all sold out.) If you can find some, keep a jug on hand, as it works as a great de-icer for your side windows, mirrors, or anything else for that matter. I used it on my front steps and porch to clear a path through the ice. It doesn't freeze, and after it dries, you'll have a non-slip place to get sure-footing.
3. When driving, pretend there's an egg between your foot and the pedal - don't break that egg! Limiting sudden acceleration and sudden stopping will greatly reduce your chances of going into a skid.
4. If you do go into a skid, remember, it's the same as when on a wet road or when "mud riding"... turn into the skid, feet off the gas and the brake.
5. Two words: WOOL SOCKS. As someone who does a lot of hunting, I can honestly tell you that wool socks are the key to staying warm in very cold temperatures if you must be outside. A few bucks on a pair of thick wool socks will save you a lot of misery later.
6. No drinking, no smoking. As someone who enjoys both of these activities very much, it's hard for me to not want to light up a cigarette or have a beer in the afternoon. If you're going to be outside for a prolonged period of time, avoid drinking and smoking, because they affect blood flow and body temperature. In freezing temperatures, every degree counts.
7. Use Armor All on the rubber gaskets around your car doors, and wax the painted metal parts to prevent your car doors from freezing shut. Nothing is more annoying than getting to your car on the top floor of the parking garage, ready to hop in and warm up when you suddenly realize your doors are frozen shut... and you're not going anywhere.
8. WD-40 can perform many different miracles, one of which is ice-proofing metal objects that needs to be outside (chains, padlocks, tools, etc.) Soaking padlock in WD-40 will prevent it from freezing, and if it's a combination lock, it will keep the numbers from getting stuck.
9. Let someone know where you're going, when you expect to be there, and when you expect to come back. You may want to let them know the route you're taking as well. If you don't let them know you've made it safely after a certain period of time, get them to look for you. I'd rather someone in my business for a few days than freezing to death because I ran of the road somewhere that no one can see me to know to call for help.
10. If you don't have to go anywhere, then DON'T! Seriously, stay home. Tackle that project around the house you've been promising you'd get finished. Read a book. Whatever it is probably isn't worth risking getting injured, or worse. A friend of mine from Wisconsin, who is obviously a seasoned veteran of winter weather told me during our first round of winter weather that even though he knows how to deal with this weather, he stayed home. He said he knew that he'd be one experienced driver in the middle of hundreds that had no idea what they were doing. Don't be a part of that statistic if you don't have to. Be safe, and keep warm.