By Holly Brodhagen
Winter has set in. We have snow on the ground and Jack Frost is nipping at our ears.
Well, actually, Jack Frost has frozen our cars, makes it too painful for the children to be outside too long, and the snow only seems to come in 12-inch increments just after the snowblower dies
But I love winter. I like the crisp mornings, I like the sun gleaming off the snow and I love hibernating in my house with a fire going and some knitting in my lap. All those things make for a wonderful couple of months of the year. My only real complaint about winter is the driving. Not my own but others’.
There is nothing quite like intersections polished by people spinning their tires, drivers sliding around corners that they didn’t realize were going to be slippery and yes, drivers not being able to judge the centre line through the snow so they travel in the middle of the road. I can overlook icy road conditions and visibility problems, but there are always cars stuck in snowdrifts I can never seem to ignore.
Recently I travelled to Huntsville and found myself helping a driver get out of a snow bank. Thanks to the cost-effective manufacturing of cars with plastic bumpers, we weren’t about to pull her out but we were able to dig, push and shove the car back onto the road. Lucky for her she had enough fuel to keep the car warm – she was not properly dressed for frigid weather – for the estimated two hours it would take a tow truck to arrive.
This incident reminded me of the lessons my Dad taught me about always being prepared. In the winter I always have an emergency kit in the car that will help if I am stuck. It contains blankets, jumper cables, a shovel, tow rope, and some food and water. I make sure I have proper footwear, and warm hats and mitts. If I get stuck on the side of the road, I need to keep me and the children warm and comfortable while we wait for help or even better help ourselves by digging out, or walking to the nearest house.
The only item I would add to my Dad’s list of emergency supplies is a good set of winter tires, not all-seasons.Winter tires shuck the snow and slush away and provide better traction. Although they can be costly they are worth the investment, especially if you take into consideration the cost of a tow.
Also, be willing to stop and help other drivers. Not everyone has a cell phone to call for help and you might be able to save them a lot of time and trouble with something as simple as a shove or boost.
Be careful on our winter roads but enjoy our winter season.
Holly Brodhagen is a citizen of Dokis First Nation. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work.