I grew up near Philadelphia on the East Coast where I mistakenly thought I knew winter. Then about 25 years ago I moved to Minnesota. And learned about real winter.
This year, the week before Thanksgiving after a long stretch of beautiful warm fall days reality slapped us in the face—to the tune of several inches of snow, freezing temperatures, and icy roads. It snowed every day for five days straight. Every year around the time of our first snowfall, articles appear reminding us how to drive safely in the winter. This year was no exception. That week a very good article came across my Facebook feed that I saved: Minnesota winter: 5 tips for driving safely in the snow
The first tip: Slow. The. Heck. Down.
According to the Department of Public Safety: “don’t drive to the posted speed limit—drive to conditions.” This is driving 101, no matter what the weather. Let’s face it, on slippery roads, it’s much harder to stop and keep control of your car when traveling at high speeds. The advice reminds me of a fun Minnesota proverb: It’s better to drive too slowly and wish you were going faster than to drive too fast and wish you were going slower.
That week took us all a bit by surprise. But at least this year I’d already put my winter gear in the trunk. Scraper. Check. Brush, shovel, and extra wiper fluid. Check. Check. Check. That first day was awful. I just barely missed landing in a ditch after I hit a patch of ice. It took me the whole week to get my winter driving chops back.
It also reminded me that I need to do other things respectful of “the conditions”. Read: it just takes longer to do everything in the winter when it’s cold, snowy, and icy outside. Besides driving taking longer, you have more clothes to take on and off, and walking on slippery surfaces takes more care. I can try to speed along as if it’s summer. But I know from experience that if I do, my body builds up excess muscular tension and will not be happy.
During the winter months, if I choose to slow down with everything I do and give myself just a little more time my body will be thankful, again and again.
So, slow down and enjoy the winter season!
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the coming year!
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