Monday, January 23, 2006

The white stuff

It snowed today. A lot. The snow was thick and clumpy, like horrible rainy dandruff.
I spent a few years living in central New York, so I learned to drive in snow because I had to. Horrible, lake-effect, windy snowstorms. So, naturally, I have definite opinions about the way the cars around me function on the road during a snowstorm.

My pet peeves revolve around those people who think they're immune to the laws of physics and speed around the streets like it's a beautiful June day. One needs to learn to respect the snow and ice that layer the pavement, especially since salting the roads is not a concept that every municipality around here understands.

My other is about the fearful snow drivers. A healthy amount of fear is OK. Panic that is obvious to all the drivers around you is not. Someone in a Land Rover was in front of me at one point. I have a Subaru, which is a great car, but it wasn't built for roving through the African savannah (a friend who runs tours in Africa swears by Rovers). If I can get up a hill without skidding or sliding, there is no reason that the Land Rover in front of me needs to crawl up it at 15 mph. There was one person in a sedan who really should've just pulled over and let the eight cars behind him/her go. That person became a danger the moment another car tried to pass it on a one-lane road.


jason said...

It's even worse when people are so fearful that they pull over in the middle of a road or, beter yet, highway. I can never figure this out. How could you possibly be safer stopped on the side of a highway, when low visibility drastically increases the chances that you'll be sideswiped? And how long do these people plan on staying there? Hours? It's madness.

-Ann said...

Yeah, something about snow makes most people forget how to drive and, especially, how to park and act in a parking lot.

In general, people are not very good about recognizing that they might be a hinderance to the people behind them. In the HIghlands in Scotland, the roads are mostly twisty and really only wide enough for a single car (not one car in each direction - ONE car at all). They have big signs that says something like "Frustration Kills" and then give instructions for how to pull over if someone is behind you. It's a pretty decent system.