Things To Think About As Winter Approaches
Change your habits for winter driving
We all develop habits in our life, both good and bad. What all habits have in common is that they are hard to change. After I quit smoking it took two or three years to break the habit of checking my shirt pocket to make sure I had my pack of Kools before I left home.
We develop habits in driving too. We do things without thinking about it. One of the most common accidents we see here at Precious Metals Auto Body is someone backing into a visitor's car in their own driveway. They know the visitor is there, but the last 200 times they backed up there was no car parked behind them. Habit overwhelms knowledge.
The next few winter months are a particularly bad time to rely on past habits, especially when it comes to driving. As the weather changes and the daylight hours are reduced, we need to change our driving habits or suffer the consequences.
I think many of the winter accidents we see that are called “driving too fast for conditions” should be more accurately called “failure to change our habits.” Our conscious brain knows we need to drive slower because it's slick, but our established habit says we've been driving this road at 65 for the last six months. As soon as we get a little bored or distracted, that old habit takes over and before we know it we're sliding out of control.
You might wonder how to break a dangerous habit like this. I have to admit I don't have a foolproof answer. I wonder if changing things connected to your everyday trips might help break that cycle of habit. A different radio station, or seat setting or something like that might help keep you more alert. However, I think the biggest thing that you can do is to concentrate on your driving, think about what's going on, and try not to be distracted by other thoughts.
Today's car bumpers crack like an egg
When I was growing up in Michigan in the 1950's and 60's, my dad worked as a rural mail carrier. He drove 50 miles of mostly gravel roads six days a week, winter and summer. In the winter he would frequently work his way through deep snow and drifts by pushing into them, backing up, and pushing into them a little farther. He would repeat this until, hopefully, he got through. Many times when he got home at the end of his workday, the grill, bumper and headlight areas of the Chevy sedan he used would be completely packed with snow and ice. In spite of this mistreatment, when he would clear away the packed snow, the front of the car would be undamaged.
You can't do this anymore! The front of your modern car or pickup is almost all plastic. If you run into a bank or hard piece of snow, you can easily shatter these parts. Plus, most of these pieces curve under, so while backing up you can hook them and easily break the front bumper cover completely off. Also, as temperatures drop plastics become more brittle.
Repairs for this kind of damage are expensive. You can easily spend $1,000 repairing damage from bumping a snow berm with the front corner of your car, and damage can be much more if you slide off the road into a snow berm.
So please be careful and leave pushing snow to those with plows.
PRECIOUS METALS AUTO BODY
111 W. 1st Street
Deer Park, WA