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The three oddest New England winter driving survival skills

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The snow coming today and tomorrow to the Boston area is unusual only in that it will be heavier here than north and west of Boston, as it historically has been. According to news reports today, the cold weather to follow is pretty special. Many are saying it will be the coldest stretch since 2009. With this crazy mix of snow and then super cold, we thought we would share what we thought were the three oddest behaviors by New Englanders drivers in the snow.

When I first started working west of Boston the weirdest thing I noticed was that the old-school New Englanders had their wipers all standing. Instead of in the normal position people would pull them up off the glass and then go inside to work. It quickly became apparent to me that if I did this too when I came out any frozen snow or ice that had piled up on the windshield would not have frozen the wipers to the glass. It looks weird, but I do it too now.

The second strange thing was that the cars were mostly facing out. In other words all the people had backed into their spaces, rather than just pull in nose first. Police call this parking “commando.” This makes sense for two reasons. First, it is a lot easier to pull out of an icy parking spot in drive as opposed to reverse because most cars are now front wheel drive and the weight is over the front tires. If there is any kind of slope to the space and the care is nose down a bit you may be in trouble. Second, when everyone leaves at the same time around 5ish the lot gets a little scary. Some people only clear a small spot on their windshield and they can’t see well. It is much easier to handle their blind driving if you are looking forward rather than over your shoulder. And if you are one of those with just a port-hole for viewing this also makes sense.

The last thing I learned was that in a pinch floor mats make great traction addition devices. If you find yourself getting stuck in deep snow, don’t start spinning the wheels. It will just dig you deeper into the hole. Get out and stuff a mat under each of the drive tires. I’ve seen it work.

These are the three oddest things I learned but there are surely more. Feel free to add yours below.



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