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  • Winter Driving Stories

    As I prepare to drive to Spokane for Christmas I am thinking about how confident I am driving in the snow. That confidence was earned by doing everything wrong in the snow and ice and learning from it.

    I bought a firebird during my sophomore year in college. It was great in the summer. I guess it never occurred to me I would have to drive it in the winter. I learned a lot from that car. One of the dumbest things I ever did happened after a late night of studying at Gonzaga. It had been snowing all day. My car was parked on Desmet. I tried to get out of my spot, but my car wouldn't budge. I tried digging around the tires, but still wouldn't move. I lived in Hillyard and it was cold so it was too far to walk. There was no one around to ask for a push so I decided to put my car in drive and then give it a push myself. The plan was that I would then jump in before it got too far. I gave it a push and it took off down the street. Just as it was about to hit a parked car it swerved and went up on the sidewalk. Luckily it was late and nobody was out walking. I ran as fast as I could on ice and somehow caught up to it and jumped in the car. Somehow there was no damage.
    Bring back the OCC

  • #2
    Lol love this story. I am super confident about my snow driving abilities as well.

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    You can't make a half sandwich. If it's not half of a whole sandwich, it's just a small sandwich.

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    • #3
      LOL! I didn't drive at college, we got a lot of snow up there and honestly I'm glad I didn't have a car. I did help more than a couple friends dust off their cars only to discover it wasn't their car under the pile of snow.

      The only funny one I can think of is that I had a Yaris hatchback (I loved the car, but let's be real, it was basically a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe) and one time I was trying to drive over an icy hill (it was small as far as hills go, more like a bump). The wheels were spinning I wasn't going anywhere, in a last ditch effort, I threw all 110 pounds of me towards the steering wheel and to my amazement that was enough to get my little car over the bump.

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      • #4
        In January of 1997my license wasn't even dry from being printed. My parents were so excited that they no longer had to haul me around that they would let me drive no matter what the weather was like. I tell this story often. Mid January we had a snow storm dropped around 6" of snow. We had an away basketball game that night. Which meant we would be driving home around 11pm. My parents went to the game and my dad thought well we will meet him at school and he can follow us home in his car. Apparently the kind of sorta cared about my well being. My dad is a former long haul trucker and liked to brag about how great of a driver he was. But on the drive home dude was going like 30 the whole way. Me having my license for 3 weeks couldn't believe we were going so slow and I was confident we could go faster. We get to the lake my dad is still going slow. So I dart down the boat ramp and drove across the frozen lake. Beating my dad home by 5ish minutes. Needless to say I didn't drive again for a few months.

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        You can't make a half sandwich. If it's not half of a whole sandwich, it's just a small sandwich.

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        • #5
          Many years ago, somewhere around 1980-81 (as a guess), my best friend and I were driving my Dad's Gremlin. He picked it up for nothing. We spun out, heading west and just out of Missoula. It didn't hurt anything but the big hatchback window flew open and shattered, falling out. We got some cardboard and gamely traveled on.
          Heading home, we were near Trout Creek, Montana when the Gremlin started fishtailing on the packed snow as we were going down a hill on that 2 lane highway. Coming down the other side was a tractor trailer and he was preparing to go off the road to save us.
          I somehow spun/snapped the steering wheel (I still don't know exactly what I did), and the car suddenly was going straight.
          The truck driver wiped his brow as he went past.
          Amazingly, it all happened so fast, neither my friend or I had to change pants!
          Not even a smile? What's your problem!

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          • #6
            My first semester at GU back in 1986 I was living at home in the Spokane Valley. On a typical December morning in Spokane it was really cold and it has snowed a touch the night before. My mom had, without my knowledge nor input, gotten me a 1978 Ford Pinto to commute with. She STILL hasn't lived that down and I beat the hell out of that car for the 5 years I was at GU. That aside, it is important to the story because it was horrendous with a capital H in the snow. I literally kept 150 pounds of sand in the back of the car so that I could get even the remotest amount of traction on ice. So, back to that fateful late December day. I got off I-90 onto Hamilton. Now anyone that went to GU knows that it is a huge downhill slope. I was being smart because the thing was a sheet of ice that morning... and in that hunk of junk I had the fear of God in me. About 1/2 to 2/3rds the way down, some idiot in pickup goes speeding by me and suddenly realizes he can't stop and starts swerving and spinning out. Now at this point I figured I am totally screwed here as this baby blue POS is NOT going to stop on that ice rink. I tapped the brakes but no real progress on stopping. So I get the bright idea of pulling, slowly, my emergency brake. Now I am spinning and looking UP the hill and was slowly drifting sideways towards the concrete wall on the right side of the bridge. Miraculously, I come to a stop about 6 inches away from the wall looking up the huge hill and seeing a bunch of cars, who had better tires than me slow to a stop about 100 feet away. Now, to say I was relieved would be an understatement but I then started to focus on my next dilemma, how to get myself pointing the right direction. I can't get out because I am inches from the wall on the drivers side. So I figured... well... I AM stopped so there is no need for the emergency brake anymore. I release the brake and the whole front of the car starts to turn away from the wall and suddenly I am facing the right direction and I have control of it again. I then proceed to putt putt along to the light at Trent and go about my day... feeling about 10 years older than the I did before I got on that offramp.
            "And Morrison? He did what All-Americans do. He shot daggers in the daylight and stole a win." - Steve Kelley (Seattle Times)

            "Gonzaga is a special place, with special people!" - Dan Dickau #21

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            2012 Foostrodamus - Foothsayer of Death

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            • #7
              I have been driving in snow all my life and have had no real stories......there is plenty of good advice on the google on how to drive safely on snow and ice so I won't repeat it here....but the years I spent in the hills of Seattle were really amazing...... with as little as 1/2 inch of snow on the roads traffic would come to a stop......and seeing people trying to drive up places like Queen Ann Hill was hilarious ....luckily nearly every accident was a simple fender bender.....

              Now ski traffic is another story....those people are dangerous....

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              • #8
                https://youtu.be/6249iHSJsKo

                Our side street is really steep and a dead end with a drop off right into the woods. I'm glad we don't have to park behind our house. We've had a few cars bail into our backyard rather than chance wrecking further down the street and I can't blame them.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jazzgirl_127 View Post
                  https://youtu.be/6249iHSJsKo

                  Our side street is really steep and a dead end with a drop off right into the woods. I'm glad we don't have to park behind our house. We've had a few cars bail into our backyard rather than chance wrecking further down the street and I can't blame them.
                  That looks insane!
                  Not even a smile? What's your problem!

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                  • #10
                    I drove countless hours on really bad, blizzard and ice conditions driving between family in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and North Idaho. One of the worst was driving from Laramie Wy to Hamilton Mt for Christmas in 1998. There was heavy snow and winds the whole way. I cut across Shirley Basin rather than going around I 25 and just made it to Casper ahead of the raid being closed. I was the only car on the road that whole stretch, didn’t even see jackrabbits or pronghorn.

                    Stopped for gas at Sheridan and a State Patrolman recommended I stop there since I-90 might close. I launched anyway and literally skated up to Billings, tractor-trailers and 4x4s were off the road everywhere. Things kind of cleared up to Butte and then a second wave hit just as it got dark. I drove from road marker to road marker at about 25 MPH. At on point a marker flashed in my headlights to my left. That had me panicked since I didn’t know if I had wandered off the road or the other way into oncoming lane. I was able to acquire another marker after a couple hundred feet and get reoriented. I finally made it into Hamilton after 10:00PM, some 16 straight hours of driving through driving snow and high winds in my VW Jetta.

                    The big difference maker was that I had on a really good set of studded snow tires that I had siped by Les Schwab. Good snow tires go a long way to making a driver good in the snow.


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                    'I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.'
                    - Gandalf the Grey

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kitzbuel View Post
                      I drove countless hours on really bad, blizzard and ice conditions driving between family in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and North Idaho. One of the worst was driving from Laramie Wy to Hamilton Mt for Christmas in 1998. There was heavy snow and winds the whole way. I cut across Shirley Basin rather than going around I 25 and just made it to Casper ahead of the raid being closed. I was the only car on the road that whole stretch, didn’t even see jackrabbits or pronghorn.

                      Stopped for gas at Sheridan and a State Patrolman recommended I stop there since I-90 might close. I launched anyway and literally skated up to Billings, tractor-trailers and 4x4s were off the road everywhere. Things kind of cleared up to Butte and then a second wave hit just as it got dark. I drove from road marker to road marker at about 25 MPH. At on point a marker flashed in my headlights to my left. That had me panicked since I didn’t know if I had wandered off the road or the other way into oncoming lane. I was able to acquire another marker after a couple hundred feet and get reoriented. I finally made it into Hamilton after 10:00PM, some 16 straight hours of driving through driving snow and high winds in my VW Jetta.

                      The big difference maker was that I had on a really good set of studded snow tires that I had siped by Les Schwab. Good snow tires go a long way to making a driver good in the snow.


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                      I did that same route to Missoula in my VW Beetle.

                      Must be Volkswagens are very capable.
                      Not even a smile? What's your problem!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by willandi View Post
                        I did that same route to Missoula in my VW Beetle.

                        Must be Volkswagens are very capable.
                        They are also very cold....only car I ever owned that required an ice scraper for the inside of the windshield.....

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                        • #13
                          My family had a VW Van when I was growing up. My dad hacked a boat cabin heater into it, running a line off the fuel line. Kept us plenty warm on long winter trips.


                          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                          'I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.'
                          - Gandalf the Grey

                          ________________________________



                          Foo Time

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