86°Partly Cloudy

Dear PoP – Snow Etiquette, Fed. Gov’t Closed and Another Great Snow Drink

by Prince Of Petworth February 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm 63 Comments

L'Enfant Plaza
Photo from PoPville flickr user Rukasu1

“Dear PoP,

As a northern transplant I thought you and other former northerners could share with our fellow Washingtonians on a few snow etiquette tips. Here are a few to get them started:

1. Shovel your sidewalk as soon as possible after the snow stops falling.
2. When shoveling out your car/ sidewalk/ driveway, do not throw the snow into the street
3. If your car gets hung up do NOT gun your engine and spin your tires. Try going slowly in reverse and forward to get you car free.
4. If you have to walk in the street, make sure you are walking towards oncoming traffic.

Do you have any more? Enjoy the next snowfall.”

I’d add when walking on a sidewalk that only fits one person always say thank you when someone in the opposite direction steps aside or waits for you to pass. What are some other good rules that should be adopted by all?

Of course most have heard by now the Federal Government is closed Wed. and Metrorail will only be serving underground stations, no bus service. In other deja vu news, I heard there will be another snowball fight at 2pm at Dupont Circle.

And Kramerbooks (1517 Conn. Ave., NW) has another good snow drink:

“We are only a snowball toss from Dupont Circle, and will be serving a new special drink to soothe Snoverkill: “The Snomore,” which is equal parts Chambord and Crème de Cacao in hot chocolate.”

  • Mal

    Oooh PoP this would be a good time to pit PoPville against the sultan… Snowball war!!!

  • Anonymous

    Tomorrow, I am dumping all this s&*^ on the corner group house that didn’t do crap all weekend and still has covered sidewalks. They do have free time to walk their dogs and shovel their cars onto others.

    • Hmm, do you live near the same corner I do?

      • Pip

        Quincy & Warder?

  • k

    Don’t bother trying to save your street parking spot after you’ve dug yourself out. It’s not going to work and is just going to piss people off.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t drive around with a foot of snow on the roof of your car (or six inches of snow, or a sheet of ice). When you clear your windshield, clear your roof.

    • matt

      this is a waste of time unless you’re driving right onto the highway.

  • Andy

    the wife and i had a great idea: the City can only penalize you for not digging out your sidewalk 8 hours after they plow your street.

    • ah

      How about the street doesn’t get plowed until everyone has shoveled their sidewalk?

      captcha: heaviest policies

      • Eli

        Good idea!

      • snoverit

        Well my street hasn’t seen a plow, everyone shoveled their sidewalks on time, and I, someone who lives in a group house, even did my neighbor’s walk.
        Whine Whine.
        Grumble Grumble.

        (ha! you got me captcha: commutes There)

  • DCGirl

    Any ideas on how to get the snow off the roof of ones SUV? I’m only 5’3 and can’t reach up there….I guess I could try to stand on something but that too seems like an accident waiting to happen..Ha…Just looking for suggestions here..I know it needs to be done!

    • ontarioroader

      Good god – really? Compact folding stepladders are sold at every hardware store in town. That and a broom and you’re all set. Honestly – if you can’t even properly clean a vehicle of that size then you probably shouldn’t be driving it.

      • er


      • calical

        wow. that’s kind of a d-bag response.

        Being a 5’4″ woman I kind of feel your pain. A broom is all you really need and you can take care of the top of your car. also I usually step on the bumper (on SUVs they’re really secure), hold on to my top rack and swing my arm and that takes care of most of it. Also if you take out the base of the middle part of the snow that also helps.

        I personally wouldn’t use a step ladder. that’ll just sink into the snow anyways and then you’ll be stuck lugging around a soaked ladder tambien. Plus when have you been on even ground since this snow has started anyways?

        good luck!

      • Quetzal

        Try removing the wheels, that oughta make it short enough for ya.

      • Not an SUV hater, but…

        My thoughts exactly.

        • mk

          wow, are you kidding me? you are a moron for actually asking this.

    • ah

      Or stand on the snow bank.

      Actually, I bought something called a Sno Brum. (there are some umlauts in the name, but I’m not figuring out the key strokes). It’s a flat rectangle of styrofoam and a rod/handle that’s perpendicular. You just push the snow right off and unlike a shovel it doesn’t damage the paint. The handle is extendable too so you can reach from the ground.

    • Anonymous

      Or realize you never go on safari or driving through the rainforest and thus have absolutely no need for an SUV in addition to the fact that they are statistically less save than regular cars. If you want a 4X4 get a Subaru or a Volvo or an Audi.

      • Monster Cow

        Thank you, Anonymous! Your arbitrary facts about SUVs have miraculously persuaded me to trade in my vehicle for a Subaru. Please continue to share your salient and truly amazing facts about automobile safety!

    • Chimps with Sticks

      Check out our website “chimpswithsticks” ! Learn some tips from your primate cousins about using tools and solving problems! Examine new ways to really exploit your opposable thumbs!

    • Nikki

      First, ignore all the self-absorbed dicks who will rip on your SUV. 4WD and two tons of curb weight does make a difference. Second, I’m also a 5’3″ SUV owner. A broom is all you need. Start at the bottom of the snow pile to break up the foundation, and the rest shall tumble down nicely and be easy to push off. It helps to run the engine while you are doing this with the heat cranked all the way up.

      • Anonymous

        The only difference the extra weight does is give you more momentum so it makes it much more difficult to stop – ESPECIALLY in the snow. It seems people never took physics in high school.

        • Anonymous

          ground clearance. traction. coefficient of friction.

  • Rat King of Adams Morgan

    Thanks. Until you provided me with these tips I was cowering in the corner, clutching my snow shovel and sobbing because I didnt know what to do.

  • Melissa

    Oh, I have to disagree with the first point from the Northerner. Yes, shoveling as soon as the snow stops falling is nice, but…. in my (Chicago) opinion, it’s really best and easier in the long run to shovel every couple of hours.

    Be happy, snow is beautiful!

    • ah

      Not necessarily. If it’s cold the whole time that works, but right now if you take the wet snow off the fresh snow will freeze solid as ice on the bottom. If you leave it you’ll have a nice blanket of slush underneath that makes removal easy and clean. No salt needed.

  • RD

    5’3″ women should not drive SUVs. hazard to everyone else on the road.

  • Here’s the skinny. That foot of snow on the top of your car is called a “snofro”. I suggest making a cardboard sign for your back windshield that says, “Shave your snofro before driving.”

    I’m with Rat King… um, thanks for the “tips”.

  • According to my sister if you shovel more than foot of snow you get to name your shovel.

  • Joe

    free advertising for kramerbooks again!!! what?

    • snoverit

      really? half this website is free advertising.
      gosh, kramers will stay open for damn near everything.

  • Banksy

    Big yes to clearing off the snow of your car roof. This is one of my biggest pet peeves of winter driving. Your height is no excuse for being lazy and inconsiderate.

    Also, I don’t get the “saving” of cleared parking spots. I know that someone expended the time and effort to shovel it out, but leaving the space unoccupied for whatever length of time the shoveler (Bill Macy?) is gone seems inefficient.

    • dcndc

      Seems to me asking for tips on safely removing snow from the roof of a car is neither lazy nor inconsiderate. I’m just sayin’.

  • dynaryder

    How about changing driving habits during bad weather? Folks need to realize that 4WD and anti-lock brakes aren’t magic.

    • Not an SUV hater, but…

      4WD may help you go in the snow, but it does nothing to help you stop.

  • E-Rich

    This cannot be said enough, but if you don’t have to be anywhere, stay inside. I know you get cabin fever, and I know it sucks. But today I saw a guy on crutches just out for a walk with his girlfriend. He wasn’t going to work. They were just strolling back from Safeway, taking up the whole sidewalk. It already takes twice as long to get to work for those of us not working for the feds. Please stay out of our way.

    That said, I’ve been pleased with how a lot of people have acted during the storm and its aftermath. I feel like people have been very courteous on the sidewalks and pleasant when finding company walking down the middle of the street.

    • Commander Douchebag

      If you were that important sonny, someone would be picking you up in a black SUV to escort you to work every day. Don’t get your panties in a bunch to the fact that people aren’t going to hole themselves up in their apartments for days just to expedite your commute.

    • Anonymous

      Please, cabin fever is a term originating a LONG time ago when people were stuck in the house for WEEKS after a snowstorm like this, with only the food they stored and the wood they had prepared to heat their house.

      Sitting in a heated house watching cable and chatting on the internet is hardly conditions for cabin fever.

  • Marktheguat

    Very simple rule of etiquette.

    When walking in a group on a narrow sidewalk with snowbanks on both sides, do not stand 2-3 abreast. There are other people walking in the opposite direction. Single file for 10 feet does not hurt anybody.

    • Anonymous

      Amen to that. And maybe – just maybe – not the best time to be texting???

      • ah

        Of course not. The best time is while driving. Don’t worry, the ruts in the road will keep the car going straight.

    • Bitter Elitist

      +1 Mark

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  • Wow–people are getting cranky on here!!! Cabin fever?

  • I

    My apartment building, the Melwood, is always the first on my street to clear the sidewalks. Not just the walk up to the building, but the sidewalk in front of the building across the entire property. Bravo Melwood Staff!

  • Dartag

    Suggestion if your car is stuck: Use your car floor mats. Put them under your tires and try to drive out slowly.

  • I don’t what northern place this person is from, but as former Chicagoan I’d say he’s wrong on several accounts:

    1. Start shoveling the snow while it’s snowing. DON’T WAIT FOR IT TO STOP. A couple of inches is much easier to shovel than a couple of feet. (This is also why it’s cities should start plowing much earlier.)

    2. Go ahead and throw your snow in the street, just not in a place that the plows are going to push it right back where it came from.

    3. Save your parking space with old furniture, couches, etc. Is not only okay, but expected. Fistfights over your cleared parking spot are just an ugly fact of life in the big city, be prepared to defend your hard work.

    • mk

      Agreed. What northern place is that person from?

      You can TOTALLY put some of the snow in the street when shoveling out your car. Other cars/suvs will drive over it, the road salts will help to melt it quickly, and if you’re lucky, a truck will plow it out of the way again.

  • Stalin

    Amen on saving parking spots. As we say in Philly, “It’s not winter until someone gets shot over a parking space.”

    So break out those 5-gallon buckets, lawn chairs and ironing boards, people, and section off the results of your hard work. This ain’t communist Russia.

    • ah

      No, because in communist Russia the parking space owns you.

      • Anonymous

        Just came back from China, communism is a bigger myth than the big foot. There are more porches, bmws, mercedes and audis in china than I have seen in DC or NY.

  • ontarioroader

    You can try the ‘saving-a-parking-space-with-junk’ thing here, but the bottom line is the city and MPD have said it’s flat-out illegal. Public space is public space.

    • DF

      And hard work should be defended. If you park in the spot I spent an hour digging out, your car may be “accidentally damaged”. Probably with whatever I left to mark the spot I dug out.

      • former Georgetowner

        yeah yeah. everyone has dug out their car somewhere. a public space is a public space. if you want a guaranteed spot, pay for your own damned garage space.

  • ah

    You do realize that those porsches, BMWs, Audis, Mercedes are owned by communist party elites, right? Most Chinese when they google \Audi\ are taken to a Chinese motors website.

  • Petworthian

    Some food tips from an unfortunate newsperson – we do not get to skip work no matter the weather – The Au Bon Pain on 11th between L & New Hampshire is open. Looks like the manager and assistant manager stayed at a nearby hotel and they opened at 6 am! Hot coffee, fresh sandwiches, rice bowls, muffins, cookies etc. Kudos from the community, guys (especially us unlucky ones at work upstairs!) You can walk there from Mount Vernon/Convention Center or Metro Center pretty easily.
    Also the Washington Plaza hotel bar and restaurants are open. The Hotel Henley Park has an excellent “tea” by the way, their scones are excellent.

  • CPT_Doom

    Please, please, please when you’re cleaning off your car, start the engine. Turn the defroster on full the temperature to full heat and turn the rear window defroster on. I cannot believe how many people are cleaning their cars off and not taking advantage of the heat the car can generate. It will also help you recharge your batter AND give you tunes to listen to while you work.

    • Agreed, just be careful to clean out around your tailpipe first! There’s always one or two jackasses every winter who end up with carbon monoxide poisoning when they get back in their cars.

    • Anonymous

      bad idea.

    • DF

      Um, if you have a diesel or a small displacement engine (less than 2L), your car won’t warm up significantly at idle.

  • In most places its considered littering to shovel your snow into the street and you can be fined the amount equal to the cost to clean it up. i.e. you could be fined the cost of having a plow come to your street. Not that they ever come to most streets… but that could be a nasty fine.


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