Snowstorms in weird places (like Oregon) and snowstorms in predictable places (like Chicago) have raised the question for many aupair host parents —
Do you allow your au pair to drive in the snow?
Of course, there are a million variables that affect this decision. Here are the ones I came up with off the top of my head:
- Is snow frequent or rare?
Is the snow deep, light, icy?
Does your car have 4 wheel drive?
Is your car a Volvo?
Is your car already beat up, or rather new?
- Is your au pair a good driver?
Has s/he got lots of experience driving in snow?
Is s/he from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Northern Canada?
- Is the specific trip urgent or discretionary?
Daylight or after dark?
With children or without?
- Are drivers in your area generally comfortable in snow?
Do you live on a hill?
Are your town roads well-plowed?
Can you avoid hilly or unplowed roads to get to where you want to go?
- Can you afford to lose your (au pair) car to a body shop for a week or two?
As this host parent put it— many many variables! So, how do you decide?
Our family has recently moved from a warm weather area to the east coast and we’ve never had to deal with snow before. We just had our first real snowfall of the season and I’ve very hesitant to allow our AP to drive in it. She has experience driving in snow in her home country (probably more than I do!) and says she is not afraid to drive in it.
For those of you living in areas that get snowfall, do you let your au pairs drive in the snow?
I’m in foreign territory here because we’ve never had to think about this before and would love to hear how others handle it.
And does it depend on where she is going or while working or not? What about when it’s not a huge storm, some cars are out on the road, and some roads are likely plowed, but sidestreets and such are icy and temperatures are still below freezing?
I feel that if she doesn’t HAVE to go out, I’d rather not take that risk. But I see it differently depending on the need. Going to the grocery story, taking the kids to school (if schools were open), or going somewhere a planned important event like a going-away party for another AP, I see as more of a need than her wanting to go to Starbucks or the gym.
Also, HD and I are doing some minimal driving (nearby errands), but I feel more comfortable with us taking that risk than her. DH has had years more driving experience and frankly, it’s our own car that we’re risking. And I just don’t feel like the headache right now of having to pay for car repairs because our AP felt she needed to drive to Starbucks in the snow. But, I feel like I’m being contradictory or unfair if I say she can’t drive, while DH and I continue to use the cars. Is this at all reasonable?
Some additional background — we love our current AP, who is leaving soon, she’s very responsible & mature and very good natured. Not at all whiny or immature. She rarely asks much of us, but she is pushing a little with this. However, she is very used to having a car at her disposal (we have a very nice 3rd AP car with very few restrictions). I know this is inconveniencing her and she is not thrilled. And, to top it off, my brand new SUV was recently stolen, so we are currently using our AP car and a rental car as our means of transport. We have her on the agreement so she can drive the rental, but again, I just don’t want to take the risks of any more car headaches right now.
I really want to be reasonable but I am a little confused at the whole situation.