To own a car in upstate New York, one must understand that the four seasons are pre-winter, winter, post-winter and heat wave. And in those three seasons where the sun isn’t beating down mercilessly on us, we have to work with vehicles that may or may not be able to handle things like snowstorms, icy roads, and other wintry defensive driving maneuvers.
Case in point.
Yesterday, I woke up and looked out my window – only to see mounds and mounds of igloo-shaped snow mounds along my street. Yep. Winter’s here.
So now I must dig my 2013 Chevrolet Cruze “Dracourage” out of the snowbank. And I have to hope that it can extract itself without my needing a push or a tow.
First up. I have to break out the snow broom.
And by “snow broom,” I mean the blue-handled house broom that’s really seen better days. See, the evening’s previous snowstorm left powdered snow on the car, so all I needed to do was push it off my windshield, my hood, my roof, my rear window, and my trunk deck. A few long strokes, a little shove here, a little push there, and we’re done. Good. I wiped down the side windows and the side mirrors, ensuring I would have as much total visibility in the cockpit as possible.
Okay. Now will Dracourage start in the cold?
And as I began to turn the key, I remembered one of the failures of my first car, the 1991 Pontiac 6000. There was always something collapsing or breaking on that car, and at one point during a road trip through New England, the blower fan for the heater gave out.
Yeah. I’m driving through New Hampshire and it’s 5° above zero. And I’m getting no hot air. None. I actually had to stop at a Pep Boys in Manchester, New Hampshire and have them replace the blower fan – apparently the wires to the original blower fan had broken off. Yeah. You never forget your first car.
Dracourage starts with the turn of the key. Perfect.
Okay. Now let’s see if I can get out of the snowbank.
And it’s at this point that I remember my second car, a 2005 Saturn Ion nicknamed “Cardachrome.” Cardachrome was a good little car, certainly light-years advanced from the Pontiac 6000, but it was not a winter car. I still remember the traction control on Cardachrome misfiring in the middle of a trip through Vermont, and me ending up in a snowbank because of it.
I slowly step on the gas pedal. Dracourage exits the snowbank with ease. Hot, friendly air pipes through the Chevy’s ducts. Mmm… toasty.
And now for the third test. Can I avoid the idiots on the road who seem to think that all they need to do is sweep off a little porthole on their windshield, jump in their car and drive away and hope that high speeds will blow off the remaining snow from their car?
Let’s find out. It’s a snowstorm, so I’m not taking I-787 to downtown Albany today. Rather, I’ll use Route 32 instead. Slower traffic, better control.
Luckily for me, this time there weren’t any highway meatheads who thought they could zip through the road like they were trying out for the Jamaican Bobsled team. So I’m kinda glad that I didn’t have to put up with any of that today. No reason to produce a test if one isn’t needed.
So yeah, Dracourage passed its snow test. Which is a very good thing.
And in all fairness… maybe I’ll keep this car a little while longer.
It’s truly proving itself as a worthy successor to my other previous vehicles.
Which is a good thing, indeed.