Out and About – Week of January 8th

A week or so ago, Mother Nature bared her teeth on some of those states way south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Tallahassee, Florida, even experienced some snow. I doubt if they even have snow shovels available in that part of the country. As a result, there were a lot of drivers who were more than puzzled as to how to maneuver their vehicles. The typical Floridian lives in Florida because they don’t care for anything that has to deal with winter. I don’t recall any Florida native retiring and moving north.

Here in “Pure Michigan”, we are supposed to be accustomed to winter driving, but if you watched any of the evening newscasts a week ago, you’d believe just the opposite. I-94 was the scene of a huge pile up of trucks and cars. The reputed cause was drivers driving too fast for the current conditions. Most accidents could be avoided if everyone slowed down whenever the weather goes south. Slow down and allow extra space between vehicles. A tow truck driver summed it up when he said, “Having four-wheel drive doesn’t mean you have four-wheel braking.”

I’m always amazed at how many drivers don’t turn on their headlights during snowy conditions. Their excuse is usually that they can see fine without their headlights on. What most don’t realize is that others might not see them. I’m fortunate to have a car that can be set so that my headlights are always on whenever the engine is running.

There was a time when it was considered a good thing to let your car warm up for a few minutes whenever the temperatures were extremely low. With modern technology, they say all you need to do is drive at a slower speed for a few miles. My car is garaged, but I still let it warm up for a minute or so before backing out of the garage. It gives me a chance to fasten my seat belt and take off my gloves. If your car is kept outside overnight, you might want to let it warm up while you clear the snow from all of your windows. It’s amazing how many cars I see out there with just a tiny port hole for the driver to see out and drive in any kind of traffic.

Extreme temperatures are hard on all machinery. My father gave me some good advice when he said that you should never let your fuel tank get below half during the winter months. It’s probably not a bad idea to treat your car periodically to some higher-octane fuel. Sort of like having a delicious dessert after a fantastic home-cooked meal.

One final hint when it comes to driving in wintry conditions. Keep a rubber mallet in your vehicle so that, prior to putting it in the garage, you can knock those ice blocks from your wheel wells and around the bumpers. Your garage will stay cleaner,and your steering will be smoother without having to deal with chunks of snow and ice. Take advantage of those days when the temperature is above freezing. Patronize your local car wash and make sure the underside of your vehicle is free of salt buildup.

With a country as prosperous as the United States of America, one would think that no one should be without food and go to bed hungry. Unfortunately, this is not true. Fortunately, the Three Rivers area has made provisions for those less fortunate. We have a fantastic food bank, and every Tuesday and Thursday, Trinity Episcopal Church hosts a FREE community kitchen dinner. Located at 321 North Main Street, just south of Ruth Hoppin School, the church serves dinner from 4 to 5:30 PM. It’s open to everyone in need.

The bond between mother and child lasts a lifetime. It remains unchanged by time and distance. It is the purest love – unconditional and true. It is understanding of any situation and forgiving of any mistake.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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