Everything I Need to Know About Life, I Learned Driving in Michigan Winters
There are plenty of driving tips to make sure you and your vehicle can weather whatever Michigan wintera storm you can drive through. However, we think some of those winter driving tips also make for great metaphors to get Michiganders through life, too.
Basic Michigan Winter Driving Tips
No, this is not going to be another article giving you tips on how to drive...though, let's be honest, some of y'all could use the reminders.
You always hear the basics when it comes to driving on a snowy, winter's day: give yourself extra time, be patient, make sure you take it slow, don't slam on the brakes, make sure to brush off your car, etc.
Of course, true Michiganders know it is not always that simple and, usually, it's things we have perfected through years of practice!
So what are some tips that translate into some pretty good life lessons?
1. Stay on the Gas
When driving in snowy conditions, stepping on the brakes to fast when you start slipping or sliding makes it easy to overcorrect and cause an even bigger problem. The best thing you can do is just keep on the gas.
The same can be said with life. If you try to overcorrect when obstacles get in your way or things are testing you, making you feel out of control, you're going to have even more problems pop up. The best thing to do is stay calm and keep moving forward. Of course, you don't always have to be going full-throttle, just enough to keep going.
2. Always steer the direction you want to go, the rest will follow
Similar to staying on the gas and always moving forward, one of the biggest things to learn driving in a Michigan winter is to not overcorrect or swerve too much. If you lose traction, there may come a point where the tires do finally find something to grip to and you don't want to be heading the opposite way you wanted when it does.
That's the same for life in terms of keeping your focus and where you want to go. Always stay focused on the goal, don't get too freaked out and steer away from what could be just waiting to catch up to you. Once the rest falls into place, you'll be on your way to where you're going.
3. The path may not always be completely clear, but its there...
Look, plows can only do so much and can't exactly get every little bit of snow off the roads. Sometimes there is still a path you can see in front of you but there either is some more snow that has covered it some more since the plows went through, or the wind has done the same. It can be frustrating not having the clearest path possible but you know it's at least safer than no path at all.
In life, you'll know where you're going and there will be challenges that may make you question what exactly your path is. It's very rare to be able to have everything perfectly clear-cut in front of you. Sometimes you've got to be the one who not only forges the path for yourself but the people following will also be grateful.
4. Pump the brakes
It's one of the biggest winter driving tips we hear about, when you have enough time and are keeping a safe distance, to pump the brakes instead of slamming on them when you're stopping on snowy roads. Of course, there are exceptions or times this is not necessarily possible. However, pumping the brakes is a way to keep ease into the stop, not making your tires lock up or slide.
Sometimes in life you hear, "woah, pump the brakes" when it seems you're moving through things a little too quickly. Maybe you're trying to do too much all at once. This also can apply to when you are trying to give up on something, it's often better to ease up, pump the brakes and give yourself time instead of coming to a screeching halt.
5. Sometimes You've Got to Let Things Slide
With winter driving, a lot of it comes down to the fact that the more you try to overcorrect the more trouble you get you and your vehicle into. This goes for when you may find yourself sliding into a turn, for example. There are, however, ways to use sliding to your advantage...why do you think people enjoy drifting?
This may also go without explanation when it comes to life. Sometimes you may feel like you are sliding through without any sense of control but if you embrace it and figure out how to safely use it to your advantage, it can either be fun or be something that can give you some extra confidence knowing you will always be safe or know what you are doing.
6. If you're stuck, get a grip and pull yourself out
It happens all the time in the winter. Either your car slides off the road, you end up on a slick patch, or any other situation that can cause either one or all tires to lose traction and you can be stuck. Luckily, there is recovery equipment you could invest in or, the old stand-by, kitty litter! Often, it's just a lack of traction or that causes you to be stuck. You just need to find a way to get some grip and you'll be back on your way.
Often in life we get the feeling we are "stuck." Whether that means we are stuck in a bad relationship, a bad job or just stuck in a "rut," you just have to find something that allows you to get a grip. This can mean getting some sort of traction financially to make some major moves, or feel like you have a grip on yourself again.
7. Sometimes, getting help is the only way
On the same note as getting un-stuck, sometimes the only possible way is getting someone else to help. Tow trucks and wreckers are definitely busy in the winter months and are often called after people have tried everything else they have at their disposal.
Some situations in life are the same way. Once you've tried everything you can think of, if you are still feeling unsettled or stuck, you need to enlist some help from either professionals, your friends, your family, etc. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and sometimes, it truly is the only way possible.
8. Patience is key
We are always told to take it slow on slick roads, to not be in a hurry and be patient with our fellow drivers.
This is one that also maybe doesn't need a whole lot of explanation when it comes to relating to life. Everything and everyone goes at their own pace, things will happen when they are ready to happen. You can't speed through life, missing out on what is important or hurting yourself and others in the process.
Winter driving sometimes can make people feel like their life is on the line, if you take a step back and remember, you've got everything you need in your wheelhouse (see what we did there?) you're going to have a way easier time in both snowy conditions and in every day life.
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