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You’re right, Southerners can’t drive in the snow. So what?

7 tips every Southerner should know before driving in ice or snow

With the potential of winter weather this week, here are some tips for driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
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With the potential of winter weather this week, here are some tips for driving on icy or snow-covered roads.

Snow is in the forecast, and like clockwork, two things are happening.

First, the supermarket shelves are becoming bare where they should be stocked with bread and milk.

And second, transplanted northerners are cracking wise about southerners’ inability to carry on like nothing special is about to happen.

I will never understand the satisfaction our northern neighbors derive from pointing out how well-accustomed they are to living in a frigid hellscape. Y’all can have that. Congrats! You can drive in the snow!

Also, your hometown is a frozen wasteland five months out of the year.

I’m frankly proud to live in the Triangle, where I don’t have to maneuver a multi-ton vehicle over sheets of ice with any sort of regularity. It would be a sign of poor decision-making, I’d think, to be forced to acquire that skill.

Let me point out the obvious, Cary residents: You no longer live in the North, and you’ve moved to North Carolina for reasons that likely include your desire to enjoy the benefits of a more temperate climate.

We’re more than happy to have you here. But I think there should be some ground rules: You don’t get to enjoy our balmy falls and early springs while also criticizing natives’ inability to deal with the Hoth-like conditions you so eagerly fled.

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Henry Gargan grew up in Chapel Hill. He can’t help it that he’s clueless about how to navigate snow and ice on the roads. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

Full disclosure: I grew up in Chapel Hill, and I slid into the back of another car in a mere dusting of snow as I tried to get to class my senior year at UNC. I took a lot of lessons away from that incident – humility, certainly, but not shame.

Instead of resolving to one day tame the icy roads, I’ve proudly turned my past trauma into an excuse to stay home and wear thick socks and drink hot chocolate and listen to Bon Iver. We’re all safer for it. You’re welcome.

It doesn’t help, of course, that we of the South have chosen not to sink our municipal budgets into an army of vehicles dedicated to clearing the roads of snow that may or may not fall in a given year. We’re not likely to buy a $500 set of snow tires, either.

Shoppers flock to Triangle grocery stores, like this Carlie C's on New Bern Ave. in Raleigh, to stock up as forecasters predict a winter storm on Jan. 3, 2018.

But can’t you understand why we’d prefer to reserve the right to “work” from home at the slightest chance of a flurry? Doesn’t that seem like a more agreeable arrangement?

This also feels like the place to register my discontent with the phenomenon of pooh-poohing southerners’ excitement at the sight of snow. It’s not our fault that our hearts, much unlike the desolate tundra you once called home, haven’t frozen over.

If there’s half an inch of snow on the ground, you’d better believe I’m gonna make a snow angel and cobble together a knee-high snowman. Such is my birthright.

To displaced northerners, perhaps stewing in bitterness that you haven’t fully escaped the occasional bout of winter weather, I invite you to join in the fun and mayhem of a southern winter while you can.

Chances are you’ll be sweating through your shirt by next week.

Gwen Roberts, founder and director of Horses for Hope in Raleigh, takes care of her herd of therapy horses diligently throughout the winter months. Horses need extra roughage and accessible water in order to stay warm enough.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announces that he is declaring a state of emergency for several counties in eastern and central NC due to an approaching winter storm.

Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan

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