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Brock: Winter driving tips from a curmudgeon

Let me begin by apologizing if this column comes across as snarky, condescending, haughty and smug.

However, I am always amazed how the first inch or two of snow every fall can seemingly come to such a surprise to folks who live in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Harvey Brock Now I know there are plenty of transplants from southern states, but whether you have spent your whole life driving on snow and ice or are a newcomer, there is a key to winter driving.

Let me offer a few tips for safe driving in North Dakota:

-- To begin with, it can freeze or snow pretty much anytime between Labor Day and Memorial Day.

-- That storage building attached to your house at the end of your driveway was meant to be a garage, (ga·rage noun: a building or part of a building in which a car, truck, etc., is kept).

-- Should you not have the luxury of a garage or choose to keep everything but your car in it, allow for extra time to defrost your windows eight months of the year. While you are waiting, remove last night’s snow from your walkway as well. You can pick up snow shovels and ice scrappers at your local hardware store. Both are great for removing ice and snow from auto windows and sidewalks. I always marvel at how a person navigates North Dakota’s icy roads while looking through ice-covered windows.

-- Speed-limit signs are for everyone and were meant for dry roads. Snow and ice should be taken into account for driving a safe speed. However, it doesn’t mean you can drive 10 mph or less on Villard Street or any other main thoroughfare. If you think roads are that bad, stay home. While, on the other hand, emergency travel restrictions do not include running to the video store. When the local police and North Dakota Highway Patrol say stay off the roads, that means everyone.

-- Simply put, use the Boy Scouts motto of being prepared as the key to safe winter driving. Scrape the ice off your windows before you leave your house. Slow down and give more notice when you turn and allow for more time to pull out on am intersection. Slow down approaching stop signs, traffic lights crosswalks and if, you change lanes to pass a stopped car in town, make sure they aren’t stopped for a pedestrian.

Again let me apologize for sounding like an old curmudgeon, but one look at me and you can easily see why.

Brock is the publisher of The Dickinson Press. Email him at