15 Practical Tips for Surviving in a Land of Snow

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Snow, snow, snow! Luckily for me, I grew up in the Midwest and know how to make sure I’m safe and warm (and don’t kill myself on the driveway in the process).

But if you’re new to this so-called winter wonderland and could use some advice on how to manage it, check out the tricks these 15 redditors use to get them through the snowiest of times.

#15. Pick your snow wisely.

“There are different kinds of snow. Not every snowfall is good for making snowmen or snowballs.”

#14. Shovel ASAP.

“Don’t wait to shovel it tomorrow, shovel it asap so it doesn’t freeze. Even if that means shoveling when it’s still snowing.”

#13. Beware the first snowfall…

“Don’t go out driving during the first snowfall. Everyone forgot how to drive in the snow and they are fishtailing all over.”

#12. Watch your back.

“Regarding black ice: If the road’s grey, you’re ok. If it’s black, watch your back.

A lot of salt and sand turns the road grey-ish which means it’s dry. I love hitting a nice big stretch of grey colored street.”

#11. Just because you have a truck…

“The snow is not as dangerous as the other people trying to drive in the snow. You drive to their capabilities, not yours. Drive knowing that the people in front of you are going to fuck up.

You can maneuver better at higher speeds in an AWD truck, but it does fuck-all for stopping distance. Just because you have a truck doesn’t mean you should be driving 20mph faster than everyone else, because when traffic in front of you comes to an unexpected dead stop (which will happen often) you’re fucked. You’ll either ass-end someone or end up in a ditch.”

#10. Use the brakes sparingly.

“Do not slam on the brakes. Use the brakes sparingly as it is. Use the gas to control your car. Also, if you’re coming up to a turn or are going to be driving around a bend, don’t brake while turning. Brake beforeyou turn, if you need to, and let off the bake before you start turning.”

#9. Dress in layers.

“Wet snow is the worst. Gets your clothes damp and cold, and is an absolute bitch to shovel – it is the heaviest kind of snow.

Also, wind makes everything twice as cold. Frost itself doesn’t feel too bad, but even a slight wind makes it super uncomfortable and potentially dangerous (you easily get frostbites).

So, dress in layers, protect your extremities (fingers and toes) well, keep your core (torso) warm at all times, and cover your cheeks and nose if you can. A decent wool hat is a necessity, so your earlobes won’t shrivel and fall off.

And if you want to warm up your cheeks with your hands, take your glove off and warm them with your bare palm. Press, don’t rub.

Source: I am a Finn.”

#8. Don’t overextend your balance.

“Short steps. Less likely to fall off you don’t over extend your balance.”

#7. Life is hard.

“Hmm, it is not as easy as it looks to make a human sized snowman.”

#6. Make snow angels.

“Make snow angels.

Don’t walk on or drive on the driveway until you’ve shoveled. It’s a bitch to shovel the ice. Get some salts, if you can.

If you drive in the snow and haven’t had practice. Go to an empty parking lot and learn how your car handles. What happens when you slam on the brakes, what does the car do when you give it gas in a corner. Make sure you have good tires too.”


“CLEAN OFF THE TOP OF YOUR CAR BEFORE DRIVING!!!!!! Can’t say this enough because I see idiots driving around with these massive blocks of snow on top their cars just waiting for the perfect time to cause an accident. Drives me crazy how little people care.”

#4. Dry socks are life.

“Keep socks in your car. Like a pack. Good for your hands. Your feet if you’ve been out walking and they got wet, your dog if he’s been out walking and his boots get wet. Great to give home less people if you pass by one. Easy to restock.

Get your pet boots and a coat if they’re not a winter breed. Or if they are and it’s just too fucking cold. Talk to your vet and do research. I can’t tell you how many pictures of blistered paws I’ve seen from walking on salted asphalt uncovered.”

#3. It takes time.

“Clearing your car off takes time. Shoveling your driveway takes time. Driving takes longer when it’s snowed. You need to budget that extra time into your schedule if it’s expected to snow.
You need to brush off the roof and hood of your car. Not just the windshield and windows. Otherwise snow will blow up and blind you, or the cars behind you.
Don’t shovel a full shovel’s worth of snow as you shovel. You’ll wear out faster and not get as much done.
Make a point to shovel with your non-dominant hand at least 1/3 of the time. You’ll last longer, and be less likely to hurt yourself.
Different shovels are good for different things. Metal works great on driveways and sidewalks, but you want plastic for anything wooden.
Heavy duty driveway ice-scrapers are a GODSEND if anybody drove on your driveway before you got to shovel it.
Buy TWO ice scraper brushes for your car. One goes inside the car, the other stays in the garage. That way you won’t get a ton of snow in your car trying to get your brush out. (Or just be stranded because your car froze shut, the ice scraper’s in the car, and you can’t use it to run along the inside crevice of your car door to get the damn thing open.)
It’s easier to un-stick a frozen car door by pushing from the inside of the car, so after you get one door open, climb inside and push the rest of the doors open.
If you know it was icy before it snowed, be EXTRA careful walking on sidewalks, because snow on ice is extra slippery.
Women’s gloves are basically worthless. Buy a small pair of men’s gloves. People won’t notice, and you’ll be way warmer.
Drive slower. And then slower than that.
Be sure to wash your car off in the spring after the last of the salt’s gone. Salt makes the roads and sidewalks safer, but can damage your car.
Road salt is BAD for dogs and can burn their paws. Get your pet a pair of booties for walks, or use Musher’s secret, or at least wash the salt off their feet after walks. (My dog is little, and my town doesn’t salt sidewalks, so I pick him up and carry him across streets.)
Pipes can freeze. This is bad, because frozen pipes burst and start leaking after they thaw. Make sure your pipes aren’t near outside walls. If they are, keep your cabinets open, keep your house above 55 F, and gently run the water if you’re really worried.
Wear a good scarf and winter ear protection. You will be much more comfortable if you can keep the wind/cold off your nose and ears.”

#2. Get good snow tires.

“Also if you live somewhere that usually has snow every winter then invest in good snow tires. My silly little 2 door car with front wheel drive stayed on the road even when some pick up trucks with 4 wheel drive were sliding.

Go slow, follow at a distance, and break gently and early. When possible let the car ahead of you clear the top of any steep inclines before you start going up the hill. If you start to slide to the right or left, try not to overcorrect and jerk the wheel.”

#1. Don’t skimp.

“Get yourself some real snow gear, and don’t skimp. Get yourself some nice warm gloves, not fleece. Get a really nice hat that covers your ears. Get good snow boots.”

Snow can be brutal, but always keep this in mind… my great-grandfather used to say he’d “never seen a snow yet that didn’t melt.”