It’s that time of year again. The days of sunbathing with a couple of beers are gone and we’re all digging out our warmest knitwear. Winter and the months leading up to it are the scourge of all of us, but none more than for car owners. There are some good pointers for lessening the pain of winter by getting your car ready, but despite these, here are ten reasons why it’s going to be a long winter for all of us.
10) Clearing Your Windshield
Everyone who’s owned a car for a winter has felt the pain of this. Having to stand around in the freezing cold scraping off what feels like an inch of ice from the windscreen before you start your journey. And if you’re unlucky enough to park outside, you have to do this every morning for the next few months.
9) Sideways Precipitation
Driving can be tricky at the best of times. You could have a car full of kids making all sorts of noise and many, many distractions. This doesn’t change over the winter months, but now, we have the added hazard of not being able to see more than 5 feet in front of us because of rain or snow falling practically sideways. It’s like driving a car with a semi-transparent windshield, with only the brake-lights of the car ahead to guide us.
8) Wet Leaves
This is a double-edged sword. Not only are they a real pain when they land on your parked car, but they’re another obstacle in the road you have to avoid when they’re in the road. Anyone who’s ridden a motorbike will know how much they can make you lose traction if you’re not on the ball throughout your journey.
7) Cold Starts
Not so much of a problem for modern cars, but those who own classic cars or diesel drivers know of the pain trying to get started after a vehicle’s been sitting on a cold night.
6) Cold Cars And The Battle To Stop The Windshield Fogging
Nothing beats getting into a warm house after being outside in the cold. This is a privilege we don’t have when it comes to cars. Every morning the inside of your car will be freezing cold, and there’s nothing you can do about it aside from wait.
If that’s not bad enough, every journey involves adjusting several dials on your dash to get the right level and temperature of air pointed at your windshield so you can see where you’re going.
5) Road Salt and Gravel
Ever hear of “road rash?” Unless we’re talking about riding a motorcycle, road rash describes all the tiny pits and dents caused by gravel on the leading edge of your vehicle’s hood, fenders, and bumpers. If the gravel is heavy enough, you’ll hear what sounds like buckshot bouncing off your car’s front end every time you follow a truck. You can literally hear your vehicle losing resale value.
While road salt doesn’t pit your paint job, it can damage your wheels and cause rust. To prevent said damage, you’ve got to clean your vehicle at the car wash after every heavy snow…and it’s just not much fun to blow your car off in sub-freezing temperatures.
4) Two words: Black. Ice.
Want to go about your daily commute without going backwards into a wall at 40mph? Of course you do, but our friend black ice has better ideas. Making an appearance without any warning it has a tendency to turn your leisurely drive in your hooptie into a moment from MarioKart.
3) People Who Don’t Know How To Drive In Snow
Snow brings out the worst in people. Some drive incredibly slowly, taking caution to the extreme. Others don’t recognize that stopping is harder in the snow. But worse than the uber-cautious or speed happy are the drivers who don’t bother to maintain their vehicles. A bad set of tires can almost guarantee an accident, and that’s putting someone else at risk to save a few bucks.
2) Road Closures
Some people are fortunate enough to live in mild climates, where the possibility of 6 feet of snow in 12 hours is beyond remote. But others (myself included) live in the Rocky Mountains, the Northern parts of the USA, Canada, etc. It’s hard enough to get around in the wintertime without having to worry the State Patrol will shut down the only highway that can take you home.
1) A Gloomy, Drab Commute
We can all learn to live with the annoyances of winter, but the one annoyance that seems to pervade the colder months is the drab of cold weather commuting. Brown grass, dirty snow along the roadside and cloudy days can’t hold a candle to the beauty of the other 3 seasons. While the occasional snowstorm can be beautiful, most of the world looks sort of boring during the winter months…which is why I’m hoping Winter ends sooner than usual this year.