By Rachael Del Pozzo
1. Layering your clothes will be the best idea you have ever had. In Alaska, we have all this super special heat-tec/cold-tec clothing that works really well but is really expensive. Long underwear is great for cold weather, but if you can’t get your hands on some, pantyhose or leggings worn under clothes works almost as well. For guys, well…no one is really going to see it, right? UNIQLO is a Japanese store that sells a lot of “heattec.” Here is the link for their online store, but it is in Japanese: http://www.uniqlo.com/jp/
2. Set your morning alarm about 10 minutes earlier. If you drive, it isn’t going to be get-in-and-go anymore. You are going to have to defrost your car, give the engine time to warm up, and possibly clear off snow. After a few times, you should know how fast your car does this, and can adjust your routine accordingly. Older models might take a little longer to wake up. Also, gloves will make grasping an icy steering wheel much more pleasant.
3. Another tip about driving in the winter: I know everyone says drive slower in the winter, and you probably should, but there are three things that are the most important: If you start to lose control of your car because you hit a patch of ice, turn into the spin. It is counterintuitive and a little scary, but turning out can make you lose control completely. Turn into the spin, and then correct yourself.
Start to stop long before you think you have to. Sudden stops on ice tend to not always go according to plan. Ease into it, people.
Do not break when going downhill. Seriously, if you do this, drivers behind you are probably swearing. If you have to break, do a tap-tap-tap. Breaking suddenly makes the people behind you break suddenly, and in the winter that can be dangerous. Plus, you are more likely to lose control of your car when breaking.
4. Keep active and remember to eat! Food makes your metabolism speed up which makes you warmer. So in the winter, it is important to consume those calories. Winter weight can catch up on you though, so try to find ways to exercise, even if the weather is gross and cold.
5. Start checking the weather the night before, so you can dress accordingly.
6. Keep extra socks at hand. Back home, I usually keep a full “winter kit” in my car: snow boots, blanket, extra clothes, snacks. In case I get into an accident or for some other reason can’t use the heating system in my car, I have a plan B in the back seat.
7. Have a pack of tissues handy. Unfortunately, snot is the only liquid that doesn’t freeze in the cold. In fact, it just streams faster.