A Guide for Surviving Minnesota Winters
Winter in Minnesota is great! Building snowmen and snow forts, having snowball fights, cross-country and downhill skiing and snowboarding, and any number of other activities that can’t be done at any other time of year make up for the often brutal temperatures and dangerous driving conditions. Use these tips if you want to make sure your winter is full of frozen fun and not a cold catastrophe.
Don’t Freeze Your Funds During Minnesota winter
You need to pay for a lot of stuff to get through winter. From coats and hats to wiper fluid for your car to increased heating and energy costs, winter can be a tough season on your wallet. The best way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your money is to take steps to not waste any of it. That means preparing your living space for the wind and cold of a Minnesota winter.
Keeping your energy costs low in the winter is actually simpler than you might think. First, don’t turn your thermostat up too high. Keeping the thermostat set at a warm but not hot temperature seems like a simple idea, but it’s really just that important. You can stay warm and toasty at home by wearing slippers and sweaters indoors and making little comfort cocoons with your favorite blankets and quilts.
Second, make sure you aren’t throwing money away through drafty windows and doors. If you own your home, it’s worth it to look into the savings you can rack up by insulating your windows. Putting down weather stripping or silicon draft stoppers at the bottom of your door can save you a lot of money as well. In a pinch, you can push a rolled-up towel flush to the bottom of your door to keep out those drafts.
Know the Rules of the Road
It seems like, come the first snowfall of the year, everyone forgets how to drive. Driving and parking are very different in the winter. It’s very important that you give yourself more room to stop when the roads are slipperier than usual and that you add a little time to your commute to make sure you can slow down and still get where you’re going on time. Those tips are common sense, but there are a few other things you can do to make sure your car isn’t giving you headaches in the cold.
One thing people who come to Minnesota from out of state can underestimate is the effect road salt has on your windshield. You want to make sure you always have plenty of wiper fluid because other cars kicking road salt onto your vehicle combined with the glare of low winter sun can severely inhibit your ability to see what’s happening on the road in front of you. It’s also good to get in the habit of cleaning the salt from your headlights when you fill-up with gas to make sure that you aren’t driving with dim headlights at night.
Be aware of your town’s snow emergency and plow schedule—especially if you park on the street regularly. Having to dig your car out of a massive pile of dense, plowed snow is aggravating, but having to get a ride to the impound lot is even worse. Those aggravations can be easily avoided if you stay aware of where you need to park to avoid trouble. Another thing to be aware of when you leave your vehicle parked outside during inclement weather is the state of your windshield wipers. If there’s freezing rain or heavy snow, flip your wipers up off your windscreen to keep them from freezing to the glass.
Gas Up, Charge On and Be Prepared
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Similarly, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of reaction. Have an emergency kit with blankets, food, flashlights, tools, and more just in case you need it. If a heavy storm is coming in, be sure to fill your gas tank. Make sure you have a way to charge your phone. Keep jumper cables in your car. The more prepared you are for something bad to happen, the less time it’ll take for you to deal with anything that comes up.
Winter can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t need to be! By taking steps to keep your home energy efficient, keep your car working and available to you, and be prepared for potential mishaps, you can make your winter amazing. There’s nothing like looking out at snow sparkling in the moonlight. So make sure you’re set to handle the potential negative aspects of Minnesota winters to free your mind to appreciate all the stuff that makes them great.