Underwear prevents winter driving accidents

Finally, after approximately a two-month delay, winter weather hit. I hope I don’t sound glad because I’m not. But I have a pretty strong sense that it was my heart- and butt-felt prayers for the time to heal my aching piriformis muscle (that would have made shoveling and/or snow blowing impossible) that kept southwest Michigan’s winter weather at bay.

Even though I’m not glad, I’m also not disappointed. Screwy weather conditions and timing are just our way of saying, “Welcome to Michigan.” The mystery behind our unexpected and dysfunctional climate change-ups is as broad and deep as the Great Lakes. I’d like to call it “charmingly fickle,” but that would be as untruthful as calling me “flexibly friendly” in my response to the 2015 Indian summer and fall.

When I wrote this in early January, the temperature had unexpectedly (gauged by the unseasonably high temperatures we’d had) “dipped” down into the 30s. I went into a shaking frenzy along with it. Strange thing was, I was shaking and complaining about the temperature more loudly than I normally would when things drop down below zero for the first time. It’s all so relative. With overnight lows predictions down into the teens, I feel absolutely beside my frosty self.

If I had a choice in the matter, which none of us year ‘round Michiganders do, we’d get a major snow and/or ice storm the week before Halloween, like that memorable one nearly two decades ago. No wimpy testing of winter’s soon-to-be-frozen waters with that: demon drop straight into the main course of winter without so much as an appetizer. Mother Nature’s crashing that fall party left no one wondering when she’d make her appearance! It surely prepared us for whatever was to come next.

Whatever comes next this winter, I’m ready and able, although dubiously willing. Got gas ahead and a new cord for electric-starting the snow blower; salt and shovels are poised by the back door; heated mattress pads are on the beds; boots, hats and gloves are on standby; and emergency provisions (former zombie apocalypse preparedness gear) have been readied by my son.

I truly do not mind driving in crappy winter weather. There’s no getting around this unfair fact of living in Michigan. I have never owned a four-wheel-drive vehicle because, well, actually, I have no good explanation – except they cost more and might ruin my sense of adventure.

Historically, I’ve commuted thousands of miles for business travel. I contrast that with my dad, who would at the most log 80 miles during the busiest of weeks, and only if he had to go to Charlotte for combine parts. He continually made comments to me about wearing out my car “gallivanting up and down the road” for no reason. Well, I tend to view work as a valid one. And he seemed to like to read the resulting newspaper articles I wrote.

I get calls, emails and Facebook messages either telling me or asking me about the weather. It’s funny because I don’t check the weather report. However, I also don’t mind giving live testimonials and receiving real time weather warnings, especially from people with 4WDs. They challenge me to be all I can be behind the wheel. I give the most credence to other people who have to drive a lot for work, while I ignore nervous Nellie, Sunday drivers.

What’s my secret weapon for driving on bad roads? I’ve shared it before and continue to stand by it: bad underwear. While some people save up their worst, worn-out, torn, stained and sprung elastic underwear to wear on vacation and pitch as they go, I save mine for winter car travel.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been slipping and sliding along Michigan roadways when I re-read the “Don’t Despair – Remember Your Underwear!” note on my steering wheel. The mere thought of some EMT or emergency room staff getting a glimpse of my rat-gnawed-looking granny panties has countless times saved my butt from the ditch.

Granted, close calls sometimes necessitate tossing out a soiled pair once I reach my destination, but it’s still the cheapest way to safely travel the Michigan winter roads.

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