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Old 12-06-2006, 12:58 PM
 
12 posts, read 47,069 times
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I'm moving to the suburbs of the St. Paul/Min area in Sep. 2007. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do so. My only concern is driving in the snow. Are there driving schools in the local region? Are there classes that I could take that would teach me how to survive in the snow. I have a friend who went to graduate school in Buffalo and she was instructed to take a "Winter Survival Class" that they offered. Is there something similar to that in the area?

I have read some previous postings regarding making friends in Minnesota or not, and the friendliness of people or not and I just have 1 comment. I have lived in the deep South all of my life (over 40 years) and while we have an honest reputation for being friendly, it is extremely hard to make friends here if you are new. We are very happy to ooh and aah over you and say lets do lunch, but we don't call. I've been told this is very similar to the atmosphere of Los Angeles.

Back to my original question about driving schools, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.
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Old 12-06-2006, 01:32 PM
 
Location: MN/WI/MI
153 posts, read 679,842 times
Reputation: 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustybham View Post
I'm moving to the suburbs of the St. Paul/Min area in Sep. 2007. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do so. My only concern is driving in the snow. Are there driving schools in the local region? Are there classes that I could take that would teach me how to survive in the snow. I have a friend who went to graduate school in Buffalo and she was instructed to take a "Winter Survival Class" that they offered. Is there something similar to that in the area?

I have read some previous postings regarding making friends in Minnesota or not, and the friendliness of people or not and I just have 1 comment. I have lived in the deep South all of my life (over 40 years) and while we have an honest reputation for being friendly, it is extremely hard to make friends here if you are new. We are very happy to ooh and aah over you and say lets do lunch, but we don't call. I've been told this is very similar to the atmosphere of Los Angeles.

Back to my original question about driving schools, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.
Hi, I've lived in the Upper Midwest all my life, so I know plenty about driving in the snow

I really don't think a class is necessary. It's just something you learn from experience. What I tell most people when they ask questions about winter driving is this: when the first snow comes after you arrive, drive to your closest empty parking lot and drive around it, slam on your breaks a few times, and turn quick -- this will give you a feel for how your car will handle in the snow. You'll also have a better understanding of how your car will slide in snow and ice, and how to recover it.

Winter weather is more about severity than anything else. 9 days out of 10 the driving will be clear and the snow plows will be doing their job. When you have to worry about it is when it is fresh snow or in the middle of snow storm when the snow plows haven't caught up.

Just make sure you give yourself enough of a gap to stop. Other than that just remember to start slowing down earlier than in clear driving. Gradual slowing is better than slamming on your breaks.

The cold is more of a problem than anything else around here You'll become very family with "Heet" which is an additive that many people add to their gas tanks during the winter to keep their gas lines from freezing. This is especially necessary if you have an older vechicle that you park outside. Besides that I usually make sure I always have a half of a tank of gas in the car, not because of the cold, but rather so you have heat in your car if you happen to get stuck in a snow drift.

And my last suggestion - make sure you carry a breakdown kit, blanket, and ice scraper in your car. And make sure you buy a GOOD ice scraper, because believe me you'll use it

Breakdown kit/snowstorm kit=Carry a breakdown kit that includes road flares, blanket, gloves, boots, warm clothing, flashlight, extra batteries, food, water, and first-aid kit. You'll probably only use your kit once a year, if that, but if you don't have it - that's when you get yourself into trouble. I also have a hatchet in my breakdown kit but that really is only necessary if you are driving up in the arrowhead.

Here is the Minnesota DOT website's winter driving tips: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/workzone/

Last edited by politikally; 12-06-2006 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:28 PM
 
12 posts, read 47,069 times
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Default Moving from Bham AL to Burnsville, Apple Valley MN

politikally,
Thank you so much for your extremely helpful advice. I will certainly copy and use for future reference.

Dustybham
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,004 posts, read 73,849,539 times
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Politikally stated it perfectly!

I dont live in MN, but Im from IL where our winters are warmer, but just as snowy. The single BEST thing you can do is to find a empty parking lot and spend a good hour driving the car around, tossing it into corners, learning how to brake (ABS is a definite plus) and how long it takes to come to a stop. Also learn how to accelerate in the snow and how to use the e-brake to get around corners. IMO the e-brake is the greatest thing to use in the snow. Dont try and use the floor mounted e-brakes, only the hand levers on the console. If you go into a corner and the car understeers ("pushes" through the corner), a quick yank and release on the ebrake will lock up the rear brakes quick enough to cause them to lose traction and swing the back end out to make it easier getting through the corner. Its things like that that will make winter driving not only easier, but ALOT more fun. Heck, when it snows out me and my friends jump in our cars just to go have fun in the snow, and Ill tell you what... doing so has made me a 100% better driver. Just spend time mastering car control and pretty soon youll be absolutely fine with it.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:00 PM
 
12 posts, read 47,069 times
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Steve-O
Thank you so much for your helpful hints. Politikally's and your advice is most appreciated. I'll certainly copy your writings along with Politikally to keep with my "the move" folder.

Dustybham
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Old 12-06-2006, 05:28 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 58,355,497 times
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My driving instructor when I was in high school learning to drive had me do that exact thing, got to a parking lot and practice. There are several driving schools in the metro area and I would bet that if you wanted they would give you a lesson or two to practice driving in the snow as well. You could call them when you move. To be honest, the past 15 years or so we have seen very little snow so you may not get a chance to practice any time soon .

Just curious about your Burnsville/Apple Valley choices, why there specifically? I would say that out of the south metro areas, those two are the 'least desirable'. They aren't bad but other areas offer better schools, again not that they are bad-say they are a school ranking of 90 and the other schools are 95 (I just made up those number to illustrate the difference). Just curious.
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Old 12-06-2006, 08:41 PM
 
Location: MN/WI/MI
153 posts, read 679,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
My driving instructor when I was in high school learning to drive had me do that exact thing, got to a parking lot and practice. There are several driving schools in the metro area and I would bet that if you wanted they would give you a lesson or two to practice driving in the snow as well. You could call them when you move. To be honest, the past 15 years or so we have seen very little snow so you may not get a chance to practice any time soon .

Just curious about your Burnsville/Apple Valley choices, why there specifically? I would say that out of the south metro areas, those two are the 'least desirable'. They aren't bad but other areas offer better schools, again not that they are bad-say they are a school ranking of 90 and the other schools are 95 (I just made up those number to illustrate the difference). Just curious.
I disagree. I think Burnsville and Apple Valley are EXCELLENT choices. ISD 196 has an excellent school system, and the housing prices aren't as overpriced as EP or the west side of town.

I can't think of anything that makes them "least desirable" - if anything the northern burbs are "least desirable" IMHO (i.e. Blaine, Anoka, Brooklyn Park, etc)
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Lakeville, MN - 4th nicest place in the nation to raise a family
285 posts, read 1,121,177 times
Reputation: 104
Default Apple Valley or bust

Apple Valley is very nice, and not just because my office is there!

ISD 196 is one of the best school districts in the state. They've figured out how to balance education, sports, and the arts. My clients are consistently thrilled with their kids' experiences.

Housing costs? Depends. Cobblestone Lake will run $500K+ for a nice single family home. I've sold several homes there in the $225K-$300K range that were awesome 4-5 bedroom houses. And the neighborhoods are NICE. When I'm running an open house or holding some event in a particular area, the neighbors come over to say hello. VERY friendly, in my opinion.

Then again, I'm 6'8", and they may just want to come see the freak. I don't know.

Apple Valley has great shopping, great access to the cities/MOA, great schools, taxes aren't crazy, and the people are nice. The only reason I live in Lakeville is because of the school system. We have a daughter with autism and there is simply no better program than the Lakeville 194 district.

My $0.02USD.

Robert
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:11 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
14,226 posts, read 28,210,113 times
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Are you sure.....as in positive you can cope with winters that are 6 to 8 months long?

As I write this, it's 0 degrees and the the windchill is -20. Exposed skin freezes in about 5 min or so. The driving comes with practice. You can learn that.
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:17 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 58,355,497 times
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I guess what I mean is that Burnsville schools and Apple Valley High School would be my last choices in this area, Rosemount, Eastview and the Lakeville schools would be better choices in my opinion. I know 196 has excellent schools, our kids are in the district. I just am not a fan of Apple Valley High School and really not a fan of Burnsville high school after having some experience at various activities with the students at Burnsville.

My opinion on the cold is basically at least with the cold you can add more clothing to stay warm and still go outside and do things, with the excessive heat, you can only take off so much and there isn't much you can do outside when it is 110 and humid. I will take a few days of below zero in the winter any day.
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