Friday, December 07, 2007

Snow Job

As many of you know, I live near the nation’s capital.

Washington is a town that is good at many things. Like grandstanding. Scapegoating. Self-aggrandizement. Blaming others for your own mistakes.

Not to mention incomplete sentences.

But one thing will NOT appear on a list of things Washingtonians do well: winter driving.

I learned to drive on snow and ice, so I’m a bit of winter driving snob. Maybe it’s because of my Midwestern background that I get so pissed off at people who become idiots when there’s a dusting of the white stuff on the roads.

Let me illustrate.

Yesterday morning, I had to drive five miles to a client office. It had been snowing lightly for about half an hour, creating a dusting on the roads and a few slick, icy spots.

I need to get on three roads—only three—to make it to my destination. Yet it took me 50 MINUTES to go five miles because of these lapses in Washington area drivers’ knowledge of winter driving:

Leaving snow on one’s car when driving: This is the norm around here. Most people in the area don’t seem to mind that they’re creating a blinding wall of flying snow for the cars behind them.

Keeping one’s headlights off: If the sky is gray, the ground is turning white, and precipitation is falling, turn on your headlights! This really isn’t a difficult concept … so why were more than half of the cars coming at me driving in the dark?

Understanding the links between speed, traction, and slopes: Going full speed up or down an icy slope is a bad idea. I get that. But folks here go way, way too far the other way. Many of them try to go up a frosted slope at about 2 mph, and then wonder why they stop moving and start to fall backward. Here’s a hint—to go uphill on a slippery hill, use the gas, not the brake.

Somebody save me. I’m surrounded by idiots.


At December 07, 2007 6:08 PM, Anonymous whatigotsofar replied to my musings ...

What's frightening is how many Canadians forget how to drive in the snow. And up here, we get a bit more than a dusting of snow. Drive slow, avoid braking whenever possible. NEVER slam on the brakes and drive in D3. If you're car has TCS or something like it, turn it on. And if its a climate where snow is a possibility, take off the summer tires. Put on snow tires or all-seasons.


At December 07, 2007 10:34 PM, Blogger Barbara (aka Layla) replied to my musings ...

I was the passenger in a blizzard once and it was the scariest moments of my life.

At December 07, 2007 10:53 PM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Aaaah, memories....
Like driving my Triumph GT6 through an Indianapolis blizzrd in '98, or the time it was iced over and I had to crawl in through the hatch...or when my Triumph Spitfire was covered in snow and I brushed it off, except the window on in the top. As the car warmed up and I was commuting, I'd flick my right hand against the plastic and snow would break off. Until I hit it too hard, the plastic broke, and I had this draft from somewhere.

I love snow driving, but it's everyone else who scare me. AWD doesn't mean turning or stopping. But I feel it's poetic justice when some idiot who passed me is on their side a few miles up the road. Remember to honk and wave as you go by...

oh, and I updated my profile pic, but you still can't see my eyes, lol!

At December 08, 2007 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

wigsf stoll my comment. They forget here all the time.

At December 08, 2007 10:06 AM, Blogger Maggie replied to my musings ...

Here in Montana, we get people that visit in the summer and then come back in the winter, thinking they can drive the same.

Four wheel drive doesn't mean four wheel stop.

At December 08, 2007 10:22 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

WIGSF: I wouldn't drive up there without chains/snow tires. It just makes sense.

Barbara, Mike: I've been through several all-out blizzards, and they are frightening. The best thing to do is not drive. I'm more frustrated here with light snow or a bit of ice and people thinking they shoudl go 2 mph!

Jenn: Forgetting is useful in some stages of life, but not when it comes to driving.

Maggie: Nice line--I should have thought of that one!

-- david

At December 09, 2007 1:59 PM, Blogger Lee Ann replied to my musings ...

I wish we could get some snow down here in the heart of dixie. Just imagine if it takes you that long to get to work (in an area that people are used to snow), just think how it would be for us down here (where no one is used to it).
Heck, the people here forget how to drive when it rains!
Have a great week!

At December 09, 2007 5:47 PM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

The name "Godwhacker" to me represents fearlessness in the face of overwhelming odds. Really, there is very little that actually scares me. Crime? Nope. War? Can't stand it, but still no. Heights? Not if it's high enough to cause a "quick death".

But driving in snow and ice... that takes the clap right out of my thunder. Maybe life in Florida has made me soft, but I'd rather party through a class 5 hurricane. In fact, I already have. :)

At December 10, 2007 7:05 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Lee Ann: I had a couple of ice storms and a bad snowfall or two when I lived further south. Things were shut down for days.

GW: Just like anything, experience helps. Spend a couple of winters up north with the simple hints for driving on icy roads, and you'll be fine.

-- david

At December 10, 2007 12:41 PM, Blogger Nessa replied to my musings ...

A couple of my favs:

People who don't scrap their windshields and begin driving with frost covered glass.

SUVs (Stupid Uppity Vehicles) [no matter what you paid for them] have NO traction on the ice - so slow the f%^k down. (To me, there's nothing funnier than seeing a suburbanite in a Hummer - the war's coming to your town soon, huh?)

At December 11, 2007 11:21 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

Yeesh...I can't relate being as I've never even SEEN snow before. But I've seen cars sliding all over and people driving crazy IN snow before and I already KNOW I'd be a HORRIBLE winter driver.

At December 12, 2007 12:30 AM, Blogger Tai replied to my musings ...

What is 'snow'?
I live in Victoria, British Columbia. We pride ourselves on the fact that when it snows 1 inch we have to call in the military and people actually die.

At December 12, 2007 2:19 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

One of my brothers moved from Northern NY state to Virginia and he's told me tales about him being the only one on the road after a light snow flurry because everyone else in his area was/is terrified of snowy roads.

I don't get the asshats in suburban Chicago who forget how to drive in the rain. For about a 3-5 mile stretch on Ogden Ave. I have to drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand resting on the horn.

And these suburban Chicago Oprah-watching, cake-eating housewives don't understand the whole concept of who goes first at 4 way stops.

At December 12, 2007 4:32 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Nessa: Agreed on the windshield. Come on, people--take an extra three minutes so you can see out the window!

PQ: Never seen snow? You need to travel more!

Tai: There's a story behind that, I'm sure, but I have no idea what it is. Care to share?

Perplexio: I wish the bad drivers would stay off these roads with a bit of snow. Instead, they go out and drive around at 2 mph just to piss me off.

-- david

At December 12, 2007 5:46 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

As bad as traffic is and can be in the Chicago area, I think the DC metro area gets it worse. When my wife & I flew to DC for Thanksgiving in 06, we took the train from Arlington to Fredericksburg so my brother and his wife wouldn't have to contend with DC rush hour traffic on the day before Thanksgiving.

At December 13, 2007 4:19 PM, Blogger zen wizard replied to my musings ...

Well, all the power moved to the Sunbelt, so they are represented by people who can't drive in snow.

There would seem to be a lot of bridges involved in a Washington, DC commute, and that would seem to make it even worse.

At December 15, 2007 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

Being from the area I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. I hate getting slammed by a sheet of ice because someone only cleared their windshields off and not the roof. I also hate the idiots who still speed and cut you off. If you haven't already had a bowel movement that day, then take a spare pair of pants when you drive in the snow in MD. Cause someone will scare the shit out of you for real, or else kill you.

At December 17, 2007 6:11 PM, Anonymous LisaB replied to my musings ...

I wish I could help you Toots but I got a few idiots here as well. OK, quite a few of them...

Damn near got taken out twice today as I was crossing the street, and some bozos were speeding over ice. It made me really, really happy. GRRRRR.

At December 17, 2007 9:37 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Perplexio: Chicago traffic can be bad, yes. Been there, done that. At least you have some decent snow drivers, though.

ZW: Many bridges, yes. That makes it worse ... but I go back to the idiocy of the people.

Mimi: I'm glad you escaped. Thankfully, I've not had any BMs in my car.

Lisa: People just don't respect pedestrians anymore. I stand with you and say, "GRRRRR."

-- david

At December 17, 2007 11:40 PM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

50 mins?! WOW that is crazy David. We got 10 inches plus an inch of ice here I was so happy because we had a 2 hr delay today wohooo!!!

I admit though at times I don't always completely get the snow off my car BUT I ALWAYS drive with my lights on

At December 19, 2007 9:02 PM, Blogger Rocky replied to my musings ...

Yes! People get nuts in the winter weather.

I like the jackasses who call in to local radio stations to say how bad the roads are and how the weather sucks and they can't see past their hood because of the blowing snow (Thankfully they are giving their report live on their cell phone - lucky us!)

At December 20, 2007 4:47 PM, Anonymous dragonflyfilly replied to my musings ...

yes, i heartily sympathize with you David, I too am surrounded by idiots - I think a lot of us are. One of my pet peeves is drivers who do not use their indicators, when you are trying to do a left turn, they are driving straight, then all of a sudden hang a right; in the time it took them to slow down and execute the turn I could have completed my left-hand turn. Grrrrrrrr.....also, getting stuck behind a driver, who, at the last minute flicks his left turn signal on, so there I am stuck, missing the Green Light, because he is too lazy/stupid to drive properly! oh well, never mind, Christmas will soon be here and I am going to run away to the Island.

But...I have a question, something has been bothering me for a long time. I can't figure out why the Twin Towers imploded when they were hit. I thought it took days and days and lots of technical planning to orchestrate an implosion of a building??? What I don't understand is why there was not an explosion instead? And also, what I don't understand is why, if Iraq had all the nuclear weapons they are said to have had, WHY did they not use them at the same time they struck the twin towers? Has anybody asked or answers these questions?

well, Peace for the new year, from "the Eternal Optimist"

luv, etcetera,

At December 29, 2007 5:55 PM, Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. replied to my musings ...

considering I'm an hour away from you, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about, having done DC plenty of times, and don't even get me started about 495...


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