You know the old saying: death and taxes are inevitable. Here in Michigan, though, we’ll add a third inevitability: being forced to drive in the midst of a winter storm. It takes a good deal of practice and preparation to feel confident navigating the snow here in the Great Lakes State, but most of us can call ourselves experts by now. Here are 11 thoughts every Michigander has while driving in the winter months.
1. "Why do I even live here?"
Ah, the eternal question. As much as we adore our home state, it’s nearly impossible to make it through the winter season without questioning our choice to reside in such a snowy region. Sure, winter has plenty of benefits, but the frustration of winter driving can be enough to make us wish were were out west.
2. "Okay, the roads aren’t THAT bad."
You know the drill: you’re venturing out toward your destination and your first few minutes of driving happen to take place in relatively manageable conditions. For a few brief and beautiful moments, you start to believe that the snowstorm and the roads’ iciness were a bit exaggerated.
3. "Just kidding. The roads are horrible."
Ten seconds later, you turn onto a completely ice-covered road, only to feel your tires losing their grip under the car. All the hope and positivity you had briefly enjoyed have disappeared, and you’re forced to face reality: yes, the roads really ARE that bad.
4. "Why is this guy driving so slowly?"
We know it’s important to proceed with caution during the winter driving season, but driving too slowly can also be frustrating and dangerous. We’ve all been caught behind that one driver who seems to think it’s appropriate to go ten miles per hour when there’s only a light dusting of snow on the ground.
5. "Why is this guy driving so fast?"
On the flip side of that coin, there’s nothing more frightening than watching someone speed by at 80 MPH when the highways are coated with black ice and visibility is nearly non-existent. Reminder: just because you have a big, fancy pickup truck doesn’t mean you’re immune to accidents!
6. "Uh oh. Salt truck, right ahead."
We love salt trucks for the work they do in de-icing the roads, but we certainly don’t appreciate being caught behind them. There’s nothing more terrifying than suddenly being bombarded with hundreds of salt crystals, each of which might very well shatter our windshield at a moment’s notice.
7. "Why haven’t they plowed my street yet?"
No matter where you live, your street always seems to be the very last one to be plowed after a night of heavy snowfall. This isn’t actually the case, obviously, but we Michiganders aren’t immune to a bit of complaining from time to time. We should, however, send our gratefulness to those who wake up at the crack of dawn to make sure we can get to work and school!
8. "I can’t believe we didn’t get a snow day today."
There’s nothing worse than inching along a snowy road, seeing vehicles stalled in the snow, and knowing that you’ve still got a substantial commute ahead of you. Here in Michigan, we’re accustomed to a major lack of snow days, but that doesn’t mean we’re happy about it!
9. "Did I clean my car off thoroughly enough?"
Have you ever felt judged by other drivers for not doing enough to clean the snow off your car? Join the club! When you’re in a hurry and you only have time to give your windshield, tail lights, and headlights a quick sweep, you might feel as though you’re driving around in some sort of cartoonish snow vehicle.
10. "Please don’t let me spin out."
White-knuckled driving is an all too familiar experience for those of us who regularly drive in Michigan each winter. No matter how confident we feel in our navigational abilities, there’s still a level of fear that accompanies each turn or merge that we undertake during the snowy months. Most of us spend our long winter drives willing our cars to stay on the road without incident.
11. "Okay, I’m only going to be two hours late. That’s not so bad."
The arrival of winter driving season in Michigan means plenty of bargaining. No matter how early we attempt to leave, it’s nearly impossible to avoid being late for an appointment or two during these icy months. At some point, our winter standards drop so low that we’ll feel proud of ourselves for making it to a family gathering just two hours late instead of three!
Tell us, fellow Michigan drivers: are there any other thoughts you regularly have while making your way through the icy tundras of our state each year? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!