By Jim Motavalli
10:30 AM EST, February 20, 2013
I didn't have to look for Nemo, it found me easily enough. As an auto writer, it's interesting to be deprived of access to wheels for two and a half days. It wasn't half bad, since the house never lost power and the larder was well stocked. Not nearly as intense as Sandy, though I don't recall shoveling snow over that one.
I didn't get out until late Sunday afternoon. The great big plow truck they sent got stuck, and had to be pulled out by a front loader. Seeing the two huge machines go at it reminded me of a Transformers movie. The snow was unfairly distributed, with some towns (Hamden wins the prize) for having far more accumulation than others. I got 36 inches. See the photo. Plowing was, of course, uneven too, with some towns having the equipment and budget to remove snow effectively. Bridgeport had neither one.
I had an all-wheel-drive Cadillac, an XTS 4, in the driveway when the snow arrived and turned it into an undifferentiated mound. Since people tell me all the time that their choice of vehicle is determined by the need for having all four wheels driven, I'd like to point out that it comes in handy sometimes, but not altogether essential for most people unless you live in the wilderness with a winding uphill driveway. Traction control is a good substitute.
That said, the Cadillac got me through the truly awful roads of the Park City in the days after the big snowfall. The Caddy does things like warn you (with tugs at the seatbelt) when you stray out of your lane, but it was inevitable when only half the road was plowed. AWD is often better than 4WD in practice, because instead of simply driving all four wheels it directs power where traction is needed.
The basic rules apply for driving in snow. Slow and steady. Avoid the brakes if you can. Don't make sudden moves, and be very careful going around blind corners. All-weather tires are a big help (they don't call them snow tires anymore). The biggest obstacle I encountered was hard-to-see blocks of ice under the snow. Thump!
The Cadillac repeatedly warned me of blizzard conditions ahead, even days after the snow had fallen. I was duly warned. Nut that I am, I went out late Friday afternoon to mail a letter, and found the post office still open. Remember that thing about snow, sleet or gloom of night? It still applies, though the PO is financially beleaguered. My wife told me we'd never get Saturday mail service, but we did. The New York Times disappeared for three days, though.
We're mostly dug out, now. The last time I went outside it was near 50 degrees Fahrenheit, so there was a whole lotta meltin' going on. Will flooding add one more straw to our load? By the time you read this, you'll know for sure.
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