Baby, it’s really, really cold outside.

by Crystal Paradis-Catanzaro

I walked home from work swaddled in two hats, two scarves, two coats, two pairs of gloves, and two very toasty, sturdy boots. Foolishly, I only had on only one pair of pants.

Living a 9-minute walk to work makes commuting on days like today a tough choice. Threatened by “Hercules” (a snowstorm whose naming received scoffing from none other than Stephen King himself), driving wasn’t an appealing option, but then again, neither was walking in sub-zero windchill (and ACTUAL sub-zero, on the walk home).

I weighed pros and cons:

Commute Time

Driving: normally 1.5 minutes, probablly 5 minutes going about 10MPH.
Walking: normally 9 minutes, probably 15 minutes in the snow.
Advantage: driving

Shoveling Time
Driving: Probably 5 minutes of car cleaning, 10-20 minutes of shoveling & salting to get safely out of the driveway.
Walking: None.
Advantage: walking

Safety from Accidents
Driving: icy roads, potentially crazy drivers, unknown plowing.
Walking: icy sidewalks, less protection from swerving cars, but potentially more maneuverability to hop out of the way.
Advantage: walking

I decided that walking was the lesser of two evils today.

Here’s what I DIDN’T consider:

Cold Factor (Safety from Frostbite)
Driving: Can start up car and then wait indoors for vehicle to warm up. Cleanup time minimized when car is warming itself up, melting ice, etc. Can enjoy the warmth of the interior of the car throughout the commute, however long that takes.
Walking: Can bundle up all I want, but (especially if I wear only ONE pair of pants) will still be in danger of possible frostbite in temperatures hovering around zero, with decidedly sub-zero wind chill factor.
DISTINCT Advantage: driving

In extreme cases like this, I conclude that it’s actually safer to drive. The danger factor of the 1/2 mile commute, especially when driving 5-10 miles per hour, is actually outweighed by the danger factor of extreme cold temperatures.

Unlike this guy, I’m no hero.

Pretty sure I’ll be driving tomorrow, regardless of road conditions.