We all knew it was going to happen; winter.  But, yet, it seems to sneak up on us every year, and with that sneakery comes the inability for some people to drive courteously in dangerous conditions.

I get it; you have a giant SUV with all-wheel-drive, traction control, rear-facing-camera, all the bells and whistles.  Some people don't.  So, lets remember some safe, non-douchy driving tips for the winter, shall we?

  • Don't ride bumpers.  There's something called a safe-driving distance.  That applies all year round.  You need to leave enough room between you and the driver in front of you just in case they stop suddenly, hit a patch of ice, or start to fishtail.
  • Use caution when passing. I understand, the Elantra in front of you isn't going nearly as fast as you would like, but don't aggressively pass them on the right, and get in front of them with inches to spare.  Not only will that strike a white-hot poker of panic in the other driver's heart, but you end up splashing muck on to their windshield, temporarily blinding them, and causing an even worse driving condition.
  • Give people time. It's slow going on slick roads when you're heading off from a stop sign or traffic light. Allow the driver in front of you to get their bearings before you wail on the horn and flash the finger.
  • You don't know who's on the road. The person you're honking at and driving aggressively against might be a 16-year-old who just got their license.  This could be their first rodeo.  Be kind.
  • Headlights are your friends. It might not be dark, and it might not be heavily snowing, but if you are on the road on an overcast day or a little bit of snow is flying, it's an occasion for headlights.  They might not help you see better, but they will help traffic see YOU better, and that makes everyone safer.
  • Clean your car off. I know you're in a hurry to get where you're going, but take the time to clean off your whole car, not just your windows. Not only is it illegal to drive with a pile of snow on your car, but you end up creating a snowy situation for the person traveling behind you... never mind if a chunk of the igloo accumulated on the roof of your car decides to slide and smash into someone's windshield.
  • Remember: you aren't the only one on the road. You have somewhere to be, obviously; that's why you're on the road.  Well, so does everyone else around you. Leave early to give yourself a little more time to be patient with other drivers. Everyone wants to get where they're going safely.
  • If you don't have to be on the road, don't be. The roads will be cleaned up quicker if the plows and salt trucks don't have to contend with roadblocks of cars. Take a "snow night" to make some cocoa, sit by the fire, and take a long swim in Lake You.
  • Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Continue following these rules this winter driving season and the next.