Winter Driving Tips & Guidelines

During the last month while travelling with my co-worker Jessica for courses, we've talked about winter driving a couple of times because she’s getting prepared to trade in her Irish drivers license for a Canadian one! We discussed ways to get more experience, drivers training courses, horror stories and more. Taking your drivers exam can be hard enough, but doing it in winter can add extra challenges. And now that it has finally started snowing, I started thinking about our conversations and  some of the risks and challenges associated with winter driving. I was surprised to find out that according to Transportation Alberta IN 2014, “Slush, snow or ice was involved in 18.0% of fatal collisions and 23.9% of non-fatal injury collisions” Source: Transportation Alberta

Unfortunately not all incidents can be avoided, but being prepared can reduce the risks. Here are some simple tips and guidelines I’ve learned over the years. Feel free to share with your family, friends, co-workers and employees.

Make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter driving. Your vehicle checklist should include but not be limited to the following:

  • Get your car serviced. Make sure to have them check your battery, cooling system, brakes, lights, window defrosters, for leaks, worn out belts or hoses and other parts that may need repair or replacement.
  • Inspect your tires for sufficient tread and pressure; if you are able to, get winter tires.
  • Fill your windshield washer fluid with ‘no-freeze’ fluid.
  • Check to see if your windshield wipers need replacement.

For more information on how you can get your vehicle winter ready, talk to the technicians at your vehicle’s service centre and/or refer to advice from your roadside assistance provider (CAA, AMA, BCAA, etc).

Prepare an emergency car kit that includes winter safety and emergency equipment in your car. Your kit should include but not be limited to the following:

  • Sunglasses. When it’s sunny, glare from ice or wet roads can be blinding.
  • Fully charged cell phone and charger
  • Snow brush, ice scraper and small snow shovel
  • Extra warm clothing (coat, gloves, hat, boots, etc) and blankets
  • First aid kit
  • Booster cables, an extension cord & tow rope
  • Snacks that won’t spoil and bottles of water
  • Winter windshield washer fluid
  • Survival candles and lighter/matches, wind up flash light & road flares
  • Bag of salt/sand/cat litter for traction

Steps to take before heading out on the road:

  • Ask yourself: “Is the journey absolutely necessary?” The safest strategy is to avoid driving in bad weather conditions. If you must drive, check weather and travel conditions before heading out; plan to leave early if necessary.
  • Let someone know your destination, planned route and expected time of arrival.
  • Clean all snow and ice off of the hood, roof, windows and lights.
  • Keep the gas tank topped up – at least half full. When driving in bad weather plan ahead and make sure you have more than enough fuel.
  • As much as possible use main roads which are generally cleared first and well-maintained.

Tips for Winter Driving:

  • Remember to always wear your seat belt. Ensure that everyone in your vehicle is buckled up as well.
  • Do not text or engage in any other activities that may distract you while driving.
  • Be alert, well rested and sober behind the wheel
  • Slow down; leave plenty of distance between vehicles. Fog, black ice, slush or snow-covered roads can make driving dangerous. Drive for the conditions, not the speed limit.

What to do if you are stuck in the snow and/or breakdown during winter weather:

  • Try to stay calm and try not to go out in the cold. If your vehicle is not at risk of being hit by other drivers, stay in your car: you will avoid getting lost and your car is a safe shelter.
  • If you have to leave your vehicle, wear high-visibility clothing so other road users can see you.
  • Don't tire yourself out. Shovelling or pushing in the bitter cold can kill.
  • Let in fresh air by opening a window on the side sheltered from the wind.
  • Keep the engine off as much as possible. Be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure the tailpipe is not blocked by snow. If possible, use a survival candle for heat instead of the car heater to warm up.
  • Turn on warning lights or set up road flares to make your car visible. Turn on your dome light; overuse of your headlights will drain the battery.
  • Stay awake; Move your hands, feet and arms to maintain circulation.
  • Keep an eye out for other cars and emergency responders.
  • Try to keep clothing dry since wet clothing can lead to a dangerous loss of body heat. Wear a hat since you can lose up to 60% of your body heat through your head.

I Love Myself, I Love My Life…

One day my girlfriend said “You know, I am not changing; I like myself.” 

That was a game changer comment in my world.  I reflected… Could I honestly say that?  Honestly?  I looked in the mirror and asked…”Do I love myself’?“ Well maybe not. So I asked “Do I like myself?”  Yes…kind of. The next question was “What would it take for me to ask the question…Do I love myself? And without hesitation or but; but; but; say “YES.” ”

Skip Downing, in his well-designed personal growth work, On Course, talks about our inner critic: I beat myself up, our inner defender: I beat others up, and our inner guide: I am kind to myself; and about the conversations we have with ourselves in our heads. 

I attended a conference and heard of this tale from the Keynote Speaker:

"Two Wolves" A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Here is the same story, but it is called "Grandfather Tells" which is also known as "The Wolves Within"

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, "Let me tell you a story.

I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.

But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times." He continued, "It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.

But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.

Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed.”

Note: this story can also be found at: http://www.firstpeople.us

My challenge certainly was deciding which voice to listen; to or which wolf to feed.  AND getting to a place of saying “Well, either stop doing that - or stop beating myself up.”  What might I be beating myself up for? Eating too much; not getting up in the morning to exercise; not calling my mother enough; not handling things right at work; or having an extra glass of wine.  I am sure it would be easy for each person to make their own list.

I’ve invested the time in my life to make small course corrections.  Over the last few years I’ve worked continuously and consciously to teach myself to have nicer conversations with myself, about myself in my head. Now I am able to say “I love my life” and mean it! And each and every day I am getting closer to saying, authentically, “I love myself!”

Your Are Your Own Best Asset!

For many of us positive thinking has become a way of life. For that we thank, in large part, Pat Vos. She has opened many doors to learning and personal growth for everyone within the company.  As I continue to learn and grow I have consulted different people, read numerous books and been to different courses.  A major theme that trails through all of them is surrounding yourself in a positive environment.  Listen, read and discuss things of a positive nature or topics which will increase your knowledge.  This creates the perfect environment for growth and development.  In a sense, what you’re doing is learning and developing a larger perspective on life, allowing you to view things from multiple "eyes" so to speak.  

This video is one of my favorite things to watch.  Whether I am having a good day or an average day, it seems some part in this video helps me out at that moment.  Every time I watch it I am able to take something new away from it.  Steve Jobs was a creator, inventor, entrepreneur and inspiration for many. This speech is a gift of his experience and wisdom from his trials and tribulations that he faced through his journey on earth.  Jobs reveals more about himself here in this speech for anyone who is unfamiliar with it. 

The saying, “you can’t see the forest through the trees”, can pertain to life.  When something arises, an issue or challenge it can sometimes be difficult to know which way to go.  In most cases, we are not the first ones to go through that situation. In all cases, someone else has been through something similar. Allow them to help, allow their experience to teach them AND teach you! One way of doing this is watching different videos and read books.  Take time to expand your brain power and wisdom.  You are your own best asset, invest in it.    

I hope you enjoy this video and watch for more to come!

Staff Meeting Week

This is staff meeting week at Intercon Messaging.  At our morning huddle on Monday we decided the best use of our two staff meetings was to help our people stop beating themselves up.  People beat themselves up with the chatter in their head about…I should have, I should not have…well I’m just not that…I’m just not this…  I’ve read 4 books in the last two weeks, relevant to this topic.

  1. ‘10 Mindful Minutes’ by Goldie Hawn
  2. ‘Change Your Questions Change Your Life, 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work’ by Marilee Adams
  3. ‘Do The Work’ by Steven Pressfield
  4. 'Choosing a Good Road, High School Success' by Jonathan Brennan

Both of our staff meetings have the same agenda and we work hard to duplicate the information for both meetings.

To help us dispute the destructive chatter in our heads we each created an affirmation.  The process we use is to have each person sit at the front of the room on a stool while the rest of the team shouts out kind words about them.  We write a whole flip chart page of words for each person.  While they are at the front they are encouraged to simply smile and say Thank You…and “receive the recognition”. When everybody has a list we ask them to take five minutes of reflection time, and write a positive affirmation using this format:  I am a ______ _________ _________ person/ mother/ friend/ partner/ leader/ etc. 

Certainly, each of the books, talks about our negative inner chatter.  In the book Do the Work, Steven Pressfield suggests ““Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.”  THE ENEMY IS RESISTANCE  “The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/ shouldn’t/ won’t do what we know we need to do.””  He says “DO THE WORK, START BEFORE YOU ARE READY.”  He calls the negative chatter our dragon brain, Goldie Hawn calls it our guard dog, and both Jonathan and Marilee call it the Judger.

I am also working through John Kehoe’s Mind Powers CD training set. He says dispute your negative chatter with several minutes of your positive affirmation until you effectively change your mind.

The never ending challenge is to quiet the negative chatter and listen to the quiet inner knowing within, which Steven calls The Knight, Marilee and Jonathan call the Learner and Goldie calls the Wise Old Owl.

Is this stuff easy?…NO!   

Once everyone has an affirmation, we share them. First we agree on the order each person will speak and make sure that everyone is aware that no other conversation is permitted.  This is an emotionally moving exercise.

A few years ago we recruited 22 people (most of which were men) to our community and helped them get a class One Drivers License.  We did this exercise and as each person in the room read their affirmation I could feel the energy shifting.  I suspect, that for some of the participants this might have been the first time in their life that they were conscious of having a positive inner conversation.  It was a deeply emotional experience.

   

 

The person next to you … (flashback part 2)

This is a poem I found hidden away in my employee folder. I honestly don’t remember when I received this or even reading it! However I am glad that I was able to “re-discover” it. It is a bit long, but I hope you still enjoy it.

 

Look Around You, Who Is the Person Sitting Next To You?
                                                                                      -Author Unknown

Look around you…
Who is the person sitting next to you?

The person next to you…
is one of the greatest miracles you will ever meet at this moment
- and the greatest mysteries.

The person next to you …
is an inexhaustible reservoir of possibility
with possibilities which have been only partially realized.

The person next to you…
is a unique universe of experience
seething with necessity and possibility
dread and desire, smiles and frowns
laughter and tears, fears and hopes
- all struggling to find expression

The person next to you…
…is surging to become something,
…to arrive at some destination,
…to have a story and a song,
…to be known and to know

The person next to you…
…believes in something…something precious
…stands for something
…counts for something
…lives for something
…labors for something
…waits for something
…runs toward something

The person next to you…
…is more than any description
…is more than any explanation
…is more, much, much more.

The person next to you…
is searching…
…for meaning
…for inner-peace
…for self-esteem
…for something they already have - they just have to realize that

The person next to you…
has problems and fears, just like you
…wonders how he or she is doing
…is often undecided, disorganized and painfully close to chaos
- but endowed with great toughness in the face of adversity, able to survive the most unbelievable difficulties and challenges.

The person next to you…
…has something he or she can do well
…something she or he can do better than anyone else in the whole world
…has strengths they do not even recognize
…needs to talk to you about those abilities
…needs you to listen
…but do they dare speak them to you?

The person next to you...
…needs a friend
…wants to be a friend
…can comfort you
…can care for you
…can understand you
…and love you.


Isn’t that what you want?
It’s what they want.

The person next to you…
is a special human being
…and so are you!

You will want to get to know this person!

 

I think this is a great reminder that people are a combination of the experiences and of the people they have met in their lifetimes. You never know what great things you may uncover with each person you interact with!