Winter Ice Safety Tips
A few tips help cold-clime dwellers cope with the inevitable ice.
Freezing rain with wind can wreak havoc on trees and shrubs.
With heartfelt conviction, if not absolute certainty, folks often say there are two seasons in Vermont: winter and construction. While many regions in the country can make similar claims, I would pit our Green Mountain State against any of them.
As a devoted horse mom and avid gardener who spends a virtual eternity chipping ice chunks out of water buckets and sheltering tender seedlings from the elements until what seems like the Fourth of July, I have joined the unspoken fellowship of country dwellers who have endured more than their share of blizzards and frozen water pipes.
Although it appears I have earned the dubious respect that comes from being resourceful, as evidenced by a slight nod from my “true” (fourth generation and beyond) Vermonter neighbors, I must confess to a feeling of pride at achieving such recognition as I grudgingly reacquaint myself with the rigors of cold- weather living. The most challenging aspect of the ordeal by far is coping with the ice. Unless you are engaged in a sport for which ice is required, there is little to recommend it – the potential hazards far exceed the fun to be experienced.
Nevertheless, you can combat the worst of it, starting with your cars.
I have to get to the barn at least twice a day to take care of my crew – three hot-house-flower, off-the-track Thoroughbreds and two dogs – so getting stuck in a driveway that hasn’t been sanded yet or skidding into a snowbank is not an option. Having dedicated snow tires with studs has been a lifesaver, especially during storms, which have been prolific of late.
A word of warning in this regard: I won’t scrimp when it comes to buying quality tires. The name brands with a good warranty have proven their worth when it comes to reliability and outlasting less expensive alternatives, which makes name-brand tires a more cost-efficient choice in the end; also consider the amount of driving you do and the road conditions, of course. I have found if I keep my tires adequately inflated, they last longer and help with better gas mileage, and, as I have been told by my mechanic, improperly inflated tires are a precursor to losing traction in many conditions.
I also keep a scraper and snow brush handy; mine is an all-in-one gadget. No matter what your preference, you will likely have to clear your windows even as the defroster is blasting away, and get the ice and snow out of the wheel wells (I keep a hammer in the trunk for the occasion) to reduce tire wear and gas usage.
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