If, like me, you are new to the Treasure Valley and have moved here from a warmer climate, the winter can be quite a shock to the system.  For the past seven years, I have called the bright lights of Las Vegas home and haven’t experienced temperatures below 50 degrees since the first Obama administration.  Now that I've been through one snowstorm, I feel qualified to share with you some of the things that I’ve learned about living in the City of Trees in the winter.  So, for the newbies, this is everything you need to know about making it through winter (as far as I know so far) and for native Idahoans, this will probably make you laugh. 

The Ice Scraper 

This handy device allows you to scrape the ice off your windshield before you go to work.  It’s a lot faster than turning on the car and waiting for the defroster to take care of it.  I’ve found that it works best if you start your car first, turn on the defroster and then start scraping.  I thought that I could save some time by only scraping the driver’s side of the glass but a very nice police officer explained to me on the side of the road that this is unsafe because it creates a bunch of blind spots and is also illegal.   

De-Icer Windshield Wiper Fluid 

This was a total shock to me, but the stuff that the oil change places put in your car to wash your windshield in California or Las Vegas is totally different than the stuff they use here.  The stuff I had in my car froze immediately upon hitting my windshield making for yet another unsafe situation.  The stuff you can buy here will act as a deicer for your windshield and can help you melt that frozen glass! 

All-Weather Tires 

When I lived in the sunshine, I thought I was covered with my “all-season” tires.  Those may have helped in the rain, but here, you’re going to need “all-weather” tires.  They have a little deeper of a tread and will help you get going a lot easier than the bald tires we used to run all over town with. 

Four Wheel Drive 

This is a feature that we never really explored in our old place of residence, but here it will give you excellent traction to get your vehicle moving in the snow.  It’s easy to feel overly confident in your 4x4, but try not to go too fast, because four-wheel drive only helps you drive, not stop! 

If you follow those tips, no one will ever know that you didn’t grow up here!