We’ve set the clocks back, the days are getting shorter and shorter, and Minnesota has already experienced a few snowfalls. All of this points to one thing: winter is setting in, and it’s time to get ready. Most Minnesotans are seasoned pros, but there are still plenty of newcomers and visitors who don’t quite know what they’re in for. If you’re new to Minnesota or visiting during the winter season, these 11 Minnesota winter survival tips should come in handy.
1. Never leave home without a phone charger.
You don't want to run out of battery when you need it the most. If you have car trouble or miss the last bus home, you'll thank yourself for having the foresight to keep your phone charged and ready to go.
2. Gas up your car before a snowstorm.
If you know a big storm is coming, fill up. Even if you have half a tank and were going to wait a few days, that extra effort to get gas might come in handy. Why? Because you'll be less likely to be stranded - either by the side of the road, or in a long line.
3. Pull up your wiper blades before an ice storm.
If your windshield wiper blades get covered in ice, they're going to be useless the next time you need them. Instead of waiting forever for your car to defrost, try speeding things up by pulling the blades up before the storm hits. It'll help prevent turning them into useless blades of ice.
4. Check the forecast.
In Minnesota, weather can go from bad to worse pretty quickly. To make sure you're best prepared, keep up to date with weather forecasts. It'll help you plan when you leave the house - or whether you do at all.
5. Bundle up.
A lot of out-of-towners don't realize just how cold a Minnesota winter can be. But trust us: it's frigid. If you're traveling to Minnesota this winter, don't just bring a jacket and call it good. Bring a coat, hat, gloves, and some weather-resistant boots - especially if you'll be outside for any length of time.
6. Learn parking rules.
Everywhere in Minnesota - from large cities to small towns - have parking rules in place during the winter. In some towns, you need to keep your car off of the street throughout the winter. In larger cities, where street parking is more prevalent, you'll have to adhere to strict snow emergency rules. These will dictate which streets - and which side of those streets - you can park on at any given point after a heavy snowfall. Pay attention, or risk being ticketed or towed.
7. Keep jumper cables in your car.
This tip is especially true if you have an older car whose battery isn't the most reliable. If the temperature drops too low, you may find yourself struggling to start the engine. But if you have jumper cables, you won't have a hard time finding a friendly Minnesotan willing to give you a jump. As an added bonus, you can use the cables to help someone else out, too!
8. Slow down!
Even after the plows are done clearing the worst of the snow, you still need to be cautious on the roads here. Sheets of nearly invisible ice can cover many roadways, causing accidents for those who go a little too fast. It's best to hang back and go a bit slower than normal. Whatever you're rushing to can wait.
9. Beware of salt stains.
If you do any amount of walking during a Minnesota winter, your shoes - and maybe even your pants - are bound to get covered in a thin layer of snow. It's not exactly attractive, but you can learn to avoid it. Many products are available to prevent salt stains, and many swear by white vinegar to remove them.
10. Leave early.
Not only do you have to worry about bad roads. But you also need to clean your car off! Whether it's a heavy layer of icy frost or a dumping of snow, it'll take a few minutes to get it all off of your car. Some people take shortcuts and don't remove all of the snow, but that's a mistake. It puts yourself and others in danger when the snow starts to fly off.
11. Go outside.
Yes, it's cold. And yes, there's probably
a lot of snow outside. But Minnesota shines in the wintertime. We don't let low temperatures stop us from having a good time. If you want to get the full Minnesota experience, bundle up and head outside. Ice fishing, snowmobiling, winter festivals, and more await!
Minnesotans, what are your winter survival tips? Visitors to Minnesota, is there anything you didn’t know that you wish someone had told you? Share your advice in the comments below!