Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Advanced Driving Lessons: Heaps of Snow Edition

I have been driving in ice and snow for not just the fourteen years in Canada but the two years in Vermont and occasional winter conditions elsewhere.  Today's drive from Ottawa to Quebec City reminded me of the basics, but also taught me a thing or two that I had either forgotten or had not quite learned before (grading causes brain damage).

Sure, don't brake but control speed via the gas is fundamental.  Given folks plenty of room so that one has reaction time is key.  One of my faves: if possible, get ahead of the crowd so that their mistakes become irrelevant.

At least five drivers (I lost count) didn't master these basics since I drove past at least that many cars that had slid off the road. 

The new lesson related to passing when only one lane is mostly clear.  The tricky part is that passing trucks do help develop good tracks to follow, so following the passing truck to pass the slow cars makes sense.  But if the truck moves over, then the easy track ends.  Which raises the question of how close to follow the truck?  The answer: not that close. So, I had to be behind overly slow cars (slow is safe, super-slow can actually be dangerous as congestion is very bad---leads to braking and then breaking). 

Twas an interesting drive for the first part of the day, taking twice as long as it should.  Not too much slipping and sliding and skidding, but definitely potential for it.  I am here in Quebec to give two book talks and squeeze in some skiing on my winter break (tis our week-long break this week).  So, I was ambivalent about the snow storm--made driving harder but might improve the ski conditions ... except that there was also freezing rain.

We shall see tomorrow... hopefully I will have some nice skiing pics of me flying almost into the St. Laurence River.

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