Snow Etiquette


Just when it looked like we might have had enough, it starts snowing AGAIN here in VA.

It has been an unprecidented winter for Virginian’s this year with a total of three major snow storms and at least one more in our forecast.

The irony of this winter is, pictures like the one above would be expected in my Canadian hometown but has become the norm here in VA and Canada looks like this:

Make no mistake, it is still FREEZING in Canada; but apparently WE have all their snow!!  That brings me to the point of this blog: Snow Etiquette.

It is possible that I take things for granted, being that I grew up in a country where snow fall occurred as regularly as blinking.  Yet, there are just some things that are plain common sense; so for all those contending with this winter wonderland, here are a few things I beg of you to keep in mind:

  1. Clean ALL snow off your car. Why anyone would leave a parking space with two feet of snow on the roof of their car is beyond me; except that they haven’t been on the receiving end of that snow flying off someones rooftop at 55mph.
  2. Defrost before driving. I saw a guy yesterday, parked precariously on an on ramp with his arm stretched out the driver side window trying to scrape the ice from his windshield.  You’re showing your car you love it to let it warm up before driving, and showing other drivers you aren’t an idiot…
  3. Regularly shovel snow. I had no intention of going anywhere the first weekend it snowed; but I learned in Canada that you are in MUCH better shape if you go out every few hours and clear the snow off your car and the spot your parked in.  Then you don’t have to complain about the snow plow blocking your car in; they have no choice, if they plow, it will pile up on  either side of the road.  Elementary.  You won’t have three feet to clear if you go out every so often and shovel it away.
  4. DON’T dump unwanted snow onto a neighbors space. I know, snow is a pain.  One of the reasons why I moved to VA; but you only look like a jerk when your neighbor comes out to see your car and spot nicely shoveled and the neighboring side of their space piled up with YOUR snow.  Rude.
  5. DO help your neighbor out. Especially here in the south; not everyone has a shovel!!  If you have one, and are cleaning off your space, help the neighbor to the right and left of you.  It only takes a few more minutes, and if everyone was willing to pitch in, the blizzards we’ve had would be a little more bearable.
  6. DON’T drive like the roads are dry or disastrous. There is NOTHING worse than getting out on snowy roads and having the one person unnecessarily going 20mph; that’s white-out speed.  If you are not comfortable driving in the snow, STAY HOME.  But don’t be the person that is flying 10mph over the speed limit when the roads are slushy and wet.  I had a guy come up behind me FLYING and saw him hit the breaks and fish-tail in my rear-view mirror.  I braced for impact.  Thankfully, he managed to stop, change lanes, and then fly by me to do the same to the next car.  Always remember, it isn’t just YOUR life that is in danger on the road; be smart.

Those are just the ones I can think of now…but I am sure I am not the only one suffering from snow-angst!  Anyone else have pearls of wisdom to add to this etiquette blog??

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5 thoughts on “Snow Etiquette

  1. Yes! We take the time to shovel out our parking spaces also. However, neighbors should realize that we didn’t do that so they would have a nice, clean parking spot! We’ve had that happen a couple of times…and I have had no problem pounding on their door and asking them to move!

    • Oh man!! I had the SAME thing happen here! Cleaned everything out, like the good Canadian should (AND my neighbors spot!!) and I came back and had to park in a snow piled place…but if EVERYONE helped out 🙂 I wouldn’t have any trouble pounding on doors either 😉 Can’t wait to see you and Alma again Jody!!

  2. I’ve been told that the reason schools close so frequently in the rural areas here is (partly) because buses cannot turn around at the end of the some roads due to snow being piled up from the plow. My Northern take on it is: it’s the parents’ job to have their kids at the end of the road so the bus can pick them up, and school goes on.

    The snow here this winter has been significant, but not catastrophic by any means (I’ve lived through much worse, as I know you have). But the inability of Virginia’s infrastructure to deal with this stuff makes me want to shoot myself.

    • Systems, they need to put systems in place!! I think this last snow storm was a little bit better handled…but it doesn’t look like it’s the last of it by any means! That’s just it; there isn’t enough responsibility on the citizen of VA to take care of the snow…everyone seems to be waiting for someone else to do it!!

  3. Also, when it’s snowing, drive with your lights on, even if it’s daytime. And don’t just clean the snow off the top of your car; clean it off your front bumper and your headlights too. I can’t see your lights if they’re covered in snow.

    Snow also builds up behind your tires when you drive. It makes it harder for you to turn the wheels while you are driving, so you should kick it off before you start to drive. Also, because of the friction your tires create with the road, that snow that gets built up behind your tires melts and refreezes into really hard clumps that can be hazardous if they fall off in the middle of the road while you drive. So that’s another good reason to do it before you start driving.

    Sometimes you have to drive somewhere in the snow, even if you don’t want to or don’t feel safe doing so. We don’t get 2-hour delays or cancellations in Iowa when the weather’s bad, so we still have to go to work. So if you are afraid to drive in the snow and want to drive cautiously (20 mph), make sure you stay in the right lane so that people can pass you safely.

    The thing about driving in winter weather is that it takes longer than driving in normal conditions – both preparing to leave (shoveling, cleaning off snow, scraping ice, etc.) and driving carefully on the way. So plan ahead and give yourself lots of time to take all the necessary precautions because my baby is in the backseat of my car! And if you make me get in an accident because you’re an idiot, I’ll kill you!

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