Goodbye Summer, Hello Icy Roads

Autumn pretty much arrived in Sweden a couple of weeks ago, judging by the yellowing leaves I see when I look out the window. Joy! Of course, when autumn rolls around, the icy weather isn’t too far off. Normally I don’t mind the freezing weather, but now with me trying to get my driver’s license here, the thought of driving on ice doesn’t fill me with nearly as much joy as the turning leaves. I come from California, where it’s perfectly valid to stay home from work/school as soon as a light dusting of snow hits the ground.

Unsurprisingly, since we are in The Frozen North here, learning how to drive on ice is mandatory. This is what I’ll be doing on Friday. Behold, my future:

For the most part, the driving lessons are going OK. It’s interesting though, because I’m not struggling with the things I thought I would (like roundabouts—Americans don’t do roundabouts), and struggling with different things instead—like looking out (and stopping) for pedestrians. I’ve discovered I’ve got certain driving habits that don’t mix well with the different rule sets and environment over here, and it’s going to be hard breaking those habits.

  • No right on red
  • No passing on the right on freeways
  • Intersections often (but not always) have a “right-hand rule” rather than stop signs/traffic lights (this rule is my nemesis right now)
  • Cyclists everywhere – so I have to remember to check and make sure I’m not about to plow one over in my blind spot when making right turns…

Honestly, after starting lessons here, it’s made me feel like it’s been a miracle I never injured or killed anyone when driving in the States.

On the plus side, though, I’ve finally learned how to parallel park. Woohoo!


Summertime was nice and relaxing, and not too hot (relatively speaking), which is a bonus. To tip my hat to the passing warm season, here are some pictures we took:



I hope you’ve had a great summer (or winter if you’re in the southern part of the world)!


  1. Hi Sara – good luck with Friday – a very good experience and understanding to have … I often think about taking one … but here we don’t often icy roads and when we do – I stay put.

    Lovely photos – and here’s to an excellent autumn … with all the learning to drive for your licence … cheers Hilary

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Hilary! I’m trying not to be nervous for Friday, and so far so good, but we’ll see how it goes on the day. 😉 It is definitely good experience to have!

  2. Michelle Morrison

    I am spoiled from living in California. I wouldn’t be too happy about having to drive on icy roads, but you do what you have to when you live in an area with snow and ice. Good luck.

    • Sara C. Snider

      Thanks, Michelle (California drivers unite!). I’m not terribly happy about it either, but I’m hoping I’ll get used to it. Eventually. 😉

  3. Melissa Adelson

    Ooh, “right-hand rule” would drive my anxiety through the roof. You did okay driving in the snow in Placerville…but I am sure that is nothing compared to Sweden! Good luck on Friday, little sis. I love you!

    • Sara C. Snider

      It definitely tests my anxiety. I get really tense when driving here, and I think weird rules like that contribute to it.

      I only remember driving in the snow in Placerville once, and that was kind of traumatic. Of course, I didn’t have chains on the tires, which would have helped… 😛 Hopefully with proper winter tires here, it’ll go much better. 😉

      Thanks, big sis! I love you too!

  4. Oh yeah, I know how confusing that gets! Except it’s a bit worse because I’m from a country where people drive on the left. So going to Europe and using a car turns into a bit of an…adventure. 😀

    • Sara C. Snider

      Oh man, I’ve kind of silently vowed to myself to never drive in a country with left-hand traffic. I think everyone involved will be the happier for it. 😉

  5. Lori Wing

    That looks like fun! Of course, it is in a controlled environment, so that helps. The hardest part about driving on icy roads is not using the brake.
    And I love the pics! Maybe we should do an all Swedish calendar this year. Need some pics of Swedish foods. Definitely.

    • Sara C. Snider

      People actually say it’s kind of fun. I’m really just hoping I don’t get sick… 😛

      Yay for Swedish calendar! Though, I don’t know about the foods part. We’d have to discuss that. 😉

      • Lori Wing

        How did it go?

        • Sara C. Snider

          It went well. There was no spinning around like in the video, thankfully. It was a lot of comparing how much longer braking ranges are between dry road and icy road. Also, I learned it’s pretty much impossible to avoid hitting an elk or similar animal that might run onto an icy road when driving faster than 50 km/h (about 30mph). Considering there’s elk and deer (and wild boars!) all over the place here, that’s handy information!

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