You can’t seem to turn on the news these past two weeks in New England without hearing about the next snow storm or blizzard that will be progressing through the area. In Boston, there has been about 72 inches (6 feet) of snow within the last 18 days. Mother Nature has managed to help us beat the record for the snowiest 30-day period, which was previously occupied by a record of 58.8 inches in a stretch that included the infamous Blizzard of 1978. Even more notable is that fact that we still have 12 days to try and bump that number up.
As the snow piles continue to grow, the safety concerns grow with it. Everybody is dealing with a sequence of inconvenient snow storms, which add on day to day tasks: shoveling every day, getting up earlier than usual to try and get to work on time, scurrying to try and get a parking spot that isn’t being saved by someone’s patio chair, cooking pot, or fan. We must remember that it can get pretty bad out there as everyone tries to continue with their daily lives, which likely includes spending some time behind the wheel. With the snowfall accumulation forecasted to continue throughout the week, some safety measures should be taken while driving in order to try and survive this record-breaking snowfall that we seem to have been gifted with.
Snow Storm Safety Tips
- Drive slowly and be aware of children playing in the street and/or around snow piles.
- Clear exterior exhausts vents and vehicle exhausts to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Avoid driving at night if possible.
- If you are out at night and walking, try wearing bright colors or reflective gear.
- Stay inside during storms unless absolutely necessary.
- Avoid shortcuts; shortcut paths may be dangerous as it is less likely that snow has been removed.
- Do not use cruise control when you are driving on a slushy or slippery road.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires provide less traction, which is already an issue with snow and ice covered roads.
- Remain calm in a skid. Do not over steer or slam on your breaks. This will make it harder to regain control of the vehicle.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding.
- Increase your following distance. This will give you plenty of time to respond hazards on the road and changing conditions.
- Clean all the snow off of your car. Make sure to clear the rear windows, mirrors, and roof as well as the windshield.
- Clean off your headlights and taillights so that you can see and be seen.
- Do not pass snow plows.
- Remember bridges, ramps and overpasses are likely to freeze with temperatures dropping.
Whether you’re enjoying the current snowfall apocalypse that has invaded New England, which I don’t presume to be many of you, or wish you could pack it back up and send it elsewhere – or better yet, pack your own bags and go elsewhere – the sorrowful fact is that we have to deal with it. We have been glued to our TVs watching the weather forecast for the next snow storm or blizzard and as they have become more and more frequent, we dismiss the importance and urgency in becoming prepared. Here in New England, many of us have a “we can handle anything” outlook on things, or still have a sense of humor about the whole ordeal. The Boston Globe compared the snowfall totals to the heights of some of Boston’s favorite athletes. Rob Gronkowski is still peeping over the snow but others weren’t so lucky. Let’s not mistake the “we can handle anything” attitude for a “we have seen it all” attitude. Stay alert and stay warm.