How To

10 ways to tell it's me in that car beside you

Columnist Lorraine Sommerfeld lists the 10 ways you'll be able to recognize her on the road this new year.

While I am certainly not one to enter into New Year’s resolutions with any urgency (and even less resolve), I do like the idea of a fresh slate, a new beginning, a giant reset button.

With this in mind, here are 10 ways you will be able to identify me as I drive around in the coming weeks, while the New Year smell is still strong.

I will be the person who cleaned all the snow off her car — even the muffin on top — as well as every light. Even if I’m just heading out on an errand. Murphy is in the back seat, waiting to enact any number of laws even if you’re just blocks from home.

I will be the person with a proper emergency kit in the car. After the awesome power exhibited by Mother Nature in stranding hundreds of motorists recently in southwest Ontario, and tragically claiming the life of one, I will remember that such a kit could save not just my life, but others. I will also stop eating the chocolate out of that kit.

I will continue to say a silent “thank you” to everyone who invests in winter tires and recognizes that every safety feature in the world is useless if that contact patch between the road and your car isn’t treated as the most important one.

4. I will walk more. This is not a New Year’s resolution to exercise; it is a New Year’s revolt against the insane price of gasoline. As I watch the sales of larger SUVs begin to inexplicably rise again, I will remind myself that exuberant consumerism is not a replacement for facts.

I will always, always have a spare jug of squirter juice in my vehicle. Always. It’s the most dangerous time of the year to have your vision obscured and I’ve learned that trying to drive behind a tractor trailer, hoping that some snow will fly off the top onto your windshield, is not a method recommended by the Highway Traffic Act.

I will remember to kick the big chunks of icy, dirty snow from behind my front wheels (we call them snow poos) before I turn the wheel, hear that crunch, and think my steering is broken.

I will try to not engage with people who illegally park in handicapped parking spots. I will try. But I doubt I will be successful. Actually, forget it. We’ll take this off the list.

8. I will be the person who has finally cleaned up all the junk in her car. No more garbage, no more loose CDs, no more boxes full of soggy Kleenex. A dirty car is worth less, it’s less comfortable, and every unsecured object is a safety hazard.

I will be the happy driver on the highway. That’s right. That person who lets you in when everyone else is trying to teach you a lesson about merging (and you really do need a lesson), will be me. I will be singing along to my new Glee CD and reminding myself that life is too short to spend it being angry.

I will begin bestowing the benefit of the doubt. I will consider that maybe you just had a bad day, and not that you made it your life mission to decide that I, a perfect stranger, am actually the cause of your stress/sadness/anger/confusion. From the mere person in this car, to the mere person in that one, I’m going to assume you didn’t mean to do that.

And now, I have to go find some chocolate, to make at least one of these things work.

Lorraine Sommerfeld appears Mondays in Living and Saturdays in Wheels. Reach her at:

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