Flights of Fancy Mom

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Extreme Weather Driving – College Student Editions

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Are you dealing with the freezing temperatures, snow, and an nor’easter that are slamming much of the US right now? Many parents are afraid of their college children driving back to college or to their new states, starting new jobs. This is perfectly understandable! Heck, I was in my 40’s when I really learned to drive in the snow! However, for the most part, extreme weather driving is part and parcel of becoming an adult. They just have to be smart about it!

  • Take your time. If it takes you 15 minutes to drive to college or work? Allow an hour, minimum. With extreme weather driving, you will NOT be going the speed limit. Count on going 15 – 20 mph less than the speed limit. Sometimes even more! If you have people speeding around you. Let them. If they want to be idiots, that is their right. They will have the ER visit price to pay, not you.
  • Know what to look for. My brother in law is a truck driver. He taught me to look for the spray kicked up behind tires when driving. If there is a spray being kicked up, the roads are not fully icy. If there is no spray, you’re driving on a sheet of ice. BE CAREFUL!
    extreme weather driving
  • Back roads. STAY OFF THEM! I was driving home one day. I will note here, I had a newer car. (Just mailed my first car payment that day in fact). My previous car handled extreme weather driving like a champ. This new one? Yeah, not so much. I had my mom on the phone with me. (Bluetooth ear piece of course). I had her stay on the phone with me in case something went wrong. So someone knew where I was. I made it over the second to last hill and was all, “I’m just about there!”
    extreme weather driving
    Then I saw the delivery truck at the bottom of the hill, ran into a pole. I hit my brakes. Spun out and ended up sideways. This road was two lanes, one lane each way. You had a guard rail, a hill, or a ditch that was about 20 feet down, as your shoulder. Thankfully I was at the part there was a hill. I shut down the road because my car was across both lanes. So, yeah, stick to the main roads. Even if it takes you longer.

There are essentials that everyone should have in/on their car if they live in a place that you have extreme weather driving as a regular seasonal occurrence.

  • All-Weather tires. I highly recommend these. They are more expensive, but, SO worth it. These tires are usually good for Rain/Mud/Snow driving. I put these tires on immediately after I have to replace the tires that came with the car when I bought it. The one’s I get if they fit my car is the Goodyear Assurance® TripleTred™ All Season
    tires. I’ve been going to Just Tires to replace my tires for the past 15 years or so.
    extreme weather driving
  • Cold weather essentials.
    • Mylar Emergency Blankets. These are good for road side breakdowns in keeping warm. It keeps approximately 90% of your body heat from escaping. They are not just for hiking and camping and are used by NASA as well.  These blankets are folded up into small packets and can fit in your glove box.
    • Extra Gloves. Even if you’re wearing a pair, have another pair. Preferably a larger size, that you can put over your other gloves.
    • Roadside Emergency Kit. This is good for any season if your car breaks down. And these emergency roadside “flares” are good to have because they can be attached to the car from within with their magnetic base. Just open the window and attach. Make sure Flashlights and batteries are part of this kit!
      extreme weather driving
    • Snow Boots. If, heaven forbid, your student needs to get out and walk, make sure they have the appropriate footwear. Look for the temperature the boots are good for. I usually keep the one’s that are good down into the negative numbers.
    • Shovel. If they get stuck for too long, the snow may have piled up around them. Highly recommend having a shovel and tire traction mats to get unstuck.
      extreme weather driving
    • Food and Water. If your student is driving back to school and has more than a few hours to drive. No matter what season it is, make sure they are stocked with food, snacks and water. One, it’s cheaper to have the food from home and two, if they break down, it’s not always conveniently close to a store. They should have at least:
      • Two – three gallons of water.
      • Several sandwiches
      • Ice
      • Snacks (Chips, Pretzels, etc.)
      • Candy/Gum. Fruit flavored jolly ranchers or chocolate.

However, these are just some of my recommended essentials. I keep most of these in my car, even as an adult. Each year, everything should be checked to make sure any battery operated equipment is in working condition. Replace the batteries each year. Even if they weren’t used the year before. So, while your student may roll their eyes at this list, it puts mom and dad’s minds at ease. Especially if your student doesn’t normally have to do extreme weather driving. Yes, I’m looking at you Floridians, Louisianans, South Texans, New Mexico and Southern Californian students!

From my fellow northerners, what extreme weather tips would you add to this list? Comment below or share on my Facebook page!

extreme weather driving

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  1. penpen

    great suggestions. the only thing i would add is that if you don’t have traction mats, car floor mates can help do the job.

    1. Jacqui (Post author)

      That’s a great tip! Thank you!

  2. Rena

    These are such great tips! We’re not used to this kind of weather here in SC so we don’t get any practice! We were caught unprepared a few weeks ago when my husband was stuck on the highway for over 6 hours! It made us think about what could happen. Saving this to show to him!
    Rena recently posted…Price vs. Power: How to Choose a Mailing List ProviderMy Profile

  3. Haralee

    Terrific tips. I would add NOT to follow any vehicle in front of you too closely. Best advice is to stay home. I can say that because I live in Portland Oregon. Not much snow or ice comes this way. If it does the city shuts down.http

  4. Lauren Cecora

    I love my emergency kit, ive used it so many times (and used it for other people in need too). Great tips!

  5. Great advice! I am from Michigan where we get quite a bit of snow, and it amazes me year after year that the residents here seem to forget the basics of driving in it!

  6. Ice traction agent

    Some really great tips here that I will definitely be putting to use! Thanks!


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