Archive for January, 2017|Monthly archive page

Winter Driving Readiness

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm

When it comes to preparing their cars for winter, most people fall into one of three groups.

‘Group One’ is the worst. Look into one of their trunks and you’d see something like the following:

  • One spare – flat
  • Four empty cans/bottles
  • A rusty screwdriver
  • Moldy rags
  • One ice scraper with broken handle
  • Two wet, moldy paper bags
  • A thing (cannot identify)
  • A cheap flashlight with corroded batteries

Pitiably, ‘Group Ones’ think they’re ready for winter driving. On a good day, they might even check the oil and battery, but will probably forget. However, ‘Group Ones’ rarely look in the trunk because they’re confident that the one flashlight, and screwdriver they bought on sale for $1.99 (batteries included) just after they bought the car two and a half years ago are still there. They are so proud of thinking ahead. Nice job guys!

Then there are the ‘Group Twos’.

‘Group Twos’ are actually an enviable lot. ‘Group Two’ people are prepared – compared to ‘Group One’, that is.

They tune up their cars, put on the snow tires, change the oil and check the windshield washer fluid. (Group One, are you still there?) They examine the air in the spare tire (or whatever you call that whimpy Cheerio-sized rubber thing the car companies put in the trunk these days.)

‘Group Twos’ have even been known to keep a folding shovel in the trunk, a flashlight with new batteries and a blanket.

They’ve got tools in the trunk: pliers (2), screwdrivers, including a Phillips (3), electrical tape, spare wire, hammer (I don’t know why they would need it either, but I certainly can’t complain because I’ve got one, too), socket set, adjustable wrench, extra gallon of windshield fluid, rags, a pair of work gloves, umbrella, bungee cords, first aid kit, maps, extra fuses, fire extinguisher, road flares, traction mats to get unstuck on snow and ice, a good-quality ice chopper, snow brush and jumper cables.

Most ‘Group Twos’ even put a bag of rock salt in the trunk for better traction. I’m proud of you, ‘Group Two’. These are also the people that use to have CB radios in their cars before cell phones to help all of you ‘Group One’ people when you get stuck. They’re the ones who stop when they see you on the side of the road trying to flag down traffic with wet, moldy paper bags.

Now for “Group Three’. Before we start, I know that ‘Group One’ will think ‘Group Threes’ are “sickos”. So will many ‘Group Twos’, but we ‘Group Threes’ don’t really care. My wife says she wishes I would “act normal” and join her in ‘Group One’, but I’ve told her that “I’m ‘Group Three’ and proud of it.”

Now that winter is here we ‘Group Three’ people are in our glory, prepared for the worst. Psychologists and psychiatrists would probably call us insecure, but let ‘em. We say we’re secure because we’re prepared. Our trunks have everything

We would never suffer like my good friend Bonnie, who spent a miserable night some winters ago stranded on the expressway while driving across Michigan during a snowstorm, waiting for the roads to be plowed.

In my typically ‘Group Three’ trunk is survival stuff. Not just any stuff, but Grade-A, first quality stuff:

A genuine military survival knife, in addition to the Swiss army knife, a space blanket (in addition to the regular blanket), a canteen with metal cup for melting snow into hot water for soup, made from the bottle of bouillon cubes (which are also in the kit.)

Hexamine Fuel Tablets and four-inch Hexamine Stove, which can boil a cup of water in four minutes that I got along with my army food rations (crackers, cocoa, beverage powder, peanut butter) at any army/navy surplus store. I also keep a whistle; waterproof matches, mints, candy, gum, compass, rope and yes, a can opener.

I also took an old one-pound metal tobacco can with lid, punched small holes all around it, and filled it with five-inch candles. I figure that if I am stuck in the cold, and if I crack a window just a bit, I can provide some heat in the car as well as a little light.

I’m going to need the light because I keep a deck of cards and a book in my survival kit so I won’t be bored to death.

It goes without saying I keep a couple of packages of Kleenex, but don’t ask me why.

“Group Threes’ also keep a snake bite kit as well as sewing kit in their survival packages. Chances are pretty good I’m never going anywhere with my car that I’ll get bitten by a poisonous snake, but if you are, won’t you be glad to see me!

Luckily, we don’t have to lug the bag of rock salt around in our trunk. Who has room for it?

I did a calculation once that the third group was responsible for almost one-fifth of the gas shortage of just a few years ago. A surprising statistic considering we in ‘Group Three’ never run out of gas.

By now I’m sure that some of you ‘Group Twos’ are waiting for the army/navy surplus store to open so that you can get what you need to cross over. We’ll be glad to have you.

Meanwhile, if I’m fortunate enough to get stranded on the freeway this winter, while I’m waiting for my bouillon to boil, I might be inspired to write about how much fun it is to be around the house with a typical ‘Group Three’.

Please invite your family and friends to join my blog too!

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