Bigger & Harman, APC - December 2018





DRIVER Attorneys Defending Your Right to the Road



Thoughts on Winter Driving

Having lived in both Connecticut and Minnesota, I am a big fan of California winters. Sure, we never get white Christmases in the Central Valley, but I’ll trade aesthetics for convenience any day of the week. I certainly don’t miss commuting in subzero temperatures this time of year. Besides, I can still drive to the mountains and go skiing whenever I have the urge. I do enjoy driving in snow from time to time. It reminds me of when I used to clear driveways after snow storms as a teenager. Most people were wise enough to stay off the roads when they were white. That left empty, pristine roads to carefully slide around on. It was a lot of fun and very beautiful when the sunlight glistened off fresh snow. However, while it was fun for a while, commuting to an office in the cold is something I don’t miss. As a young man working in a church in Minneapolis, I’d borrowed my roommate’s Isuzu Trooper when my truck was in the shop. One night I was working late, oblivious to just how cold it was getting outside. Upon clocking out and shuffling my way over to the pickup truck, I made my first important discovery. I’d locked the keys in the car. This wasn’t a cold-weather thing, but a “Paul” thing. Having grown up in a small town, I never locked my car doors. I just threw my keys under the seat and left. After coming to the Twin Cities, I quickly got in the habit of securing my car. Unfortunately, I didn’t get out of the habit of throwing my keys beneath my seat. Needless to say, by the time of this incident, I had AAA on speed dial. Idling in the church’s van for warmth, I waited for my rescuers to show up. In the 30 minutes it took AAA to arrive, the van’s heater had done very little against the deep, bone-chilling cold. I was relieved

when the locksmith finally popped the Isuzu open and I could go home. Or so I thought.

Climbing into the cab, I put my newly retrieved keys into the ignition and — nothing. The engine didn’t even make the croak of a dying battery. After jumping the truck with the help of the van, I started my way home. However, it was so cold the diesel fuel had gelled. The engine was getting just enough fuel to run roughly, and eventually, it got me home.

In the 30 minutes it took AAA to arrive, the van’s heater had done very little against the deep, bone-chilling cold.”

Experienced drivers, especially CDL holders, know that no matter how well-versed you are in winter driving, there are still ways the elements can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful. Even simple inconveniences can become major challenges in freezing conditions, leading to delays, traffic violations, or worse. So, whether you’re driving up to Mammoth Lakes or through other snowy parts of the country this winter, stay safe, use caution, and make sure your AAA membership is up to date!

– Paul Harman

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