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How To Survive A Canadian Winter

It’s cold today, there is a bit of snow on the ground and this morning my windshield wipers were frozen to the windshield. Put it all together and it is clear that winter has arrived in Southern Ontario. Here are some tips to survive a Canadian winter.

Rock Salt – You won’t make it through the winter without a bag of this stuff. It should not be confused with your standard table salt or with a bagful of the little salt packets from McDonald’s. The big chunks of salt melt ice and add valuable traction on slick roads. If you don’t put down a good base of salt you’ll find that next time there is a good snowstorm you will be unable to navigate your driveway, walkway or sidewalk. The ideal amount of salt will burn away all grass within six inches of your driveway.

Just Don’t – Don’t eat the yellow snow. Ever. Actually, these days it’s probably best just not to eat any snow, even that light grey (formerly white) stuff.

Stay Back – When the snow is all yucky and slushy, you’ll want to be sure you stay at least a couple feet back from the road. Those snowplows can get quite a head of steam and if they drive through a slush-puddle just as you’re walking by, it can ruin your day (and your MP3 player).

Car Washes – Salt does not only destroy snow – it also destroys the body of your car. It is important to try to get into a carwash at least a couple of times every winter and definitely in the spring once the salt has been cleared away. Take car getting your car washed on a very cold day as you may find yourself entombed in your frozen vehicle, unable to open doors and windows.

Drive-Thru Etiquette – When pulling up to a drive-thru window, ensure you pull ahead just a little bit too far. That way if your windows are frozen shut you can pass your money or bank card through an open door.

Fill ‘Er Up – Don’t allow your car’s gas tank to get too low. If you park a car with a nearly empty tank and leave it overnight, the gas may begin to freeze, leaving you with an unusable car and very possibly an expensive repair bill. If possible, buy your gas at a place that offers Winter Gas which has an anti-freeze additive in it.

Warm It Up – It’s generally not a great idea to fire up and immediately drive away in a car that has been sitting for 18 hours in sub-zero temperatures. Turn the car on and spend a few minutes scraping windows and cleaning your floormats while you wait for the car to warm up. Your vehicle will thank you.

Slow Down – While many people don’t seem to realize this, it is smart to drive a bit slower when there is six inches of snow on the road than when the roads are clear. Stopping times increase and steering gets spotty. So slow down, take it easy, leave space and get off the phone.

Snow Angels – As a Reformed Christian I take offense at any sort of religious icon, especially when used as objects of worship or veneration. So you ought not to make snow angels. You might wake up the next morning to find you’ve got a yard full of Catholics worshipping venerating your creation.

Got some more tips? Feel free to post them in the forums.

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