First, let me send this entreaty to God:
While I fully appreciate the need for many kinds of weather, I respectfully ask that You limit it to one kind of misery per 24 hour period. Right now You’ve got 5 inches of snow falling in 5 hours and then a plunge down to -15 scheduled for tonight. Perchance a change of heart is in order?
Now, on to my fellow drivers. I don’t want this to be taken as a rant, but a humorous observation of the wretched driving habits of my fellow Minnesotans. To lighten things just a bit, I’m putting up a picture of Stormy taken this morning with the observations below the fold.
I wish to pass along the following to my fellow drivers. I base this on the wisdom I’ve acquired in driving over the past 38 winters:
1. Clear the snow off your stupid car before you head out. The “portholes” aren’t cute, they’re dangerous. So is the mound of snow on your hood. I know you don’t care where you’ve been, but in the event you plan on turning or changing lanes today you might need that back window cleared. Also, it seems headlights and taillights work better when you can see them. It will take you about 5 minutes to do it right. It will take you much longer to recover from that collision you’re working towards.
2. Just because you drive a big Leviathan marked with the Metro Transit symbol does not mean that you can abandon courtesy and decency. I know you have a legal right to plunge into traffic like a drunken Boatswain’s mate on liberty call in Naples, but when it’s snowing like crazy or there’s blowing snow it’s crude and boorish. Use some manners and common sense. Your passengers will appreciate it as well. That sudden stop when you get crushed by a tanker truck is unpleasant (I speak from experience, 1982, University of Minnesota. Them there seats is hard when your body slams into them at 20 mph.)
3. Pedestrians: You have the right-of-way in crosswalks. That counts for nothing when you cross in front of a car doing 27.5 miles per hour, the roads are slick with black ice and snow (both on occasion) and stopping distances triple. Dead is more-or-less a permanent state until Jesus comes back. Wait for traffic to thin a bit before leaping the snow bank at the curb and striding into the traffic stream. (Please. I’d really hate to hit one of you by accident. Same goes for wearing all black at night and walking down the middle of the road because the sidewalk isn’t shoveled. I’m not making that up, saw it yesterday.)
4. If you are terrified to drive, stay home. Your 12 m.p.h. arrival in the traffic flow on I-94 is not caution, it’s stupid. You have an obligation to merge with the traffic at a safe speed. You endanger the poor fool behind you on the ramp as well.
5. Look out for #4 if you’re in the right lane. Try to leave a gap so the guys and gals merging have a chance. Tailgating the car ahead when it’s icy is deadly.
6. Do you really want to drive like a slalom skier down the road with a plow on your pickup truck? Oy.
7. If your headlights don’t work, don’t go out in the dark. Or when you use your wipers. That’s simple enough. I’m talking to you, the driver of the gray Chevrolet who was virtually invisible this morning in the blowing snow. I really don’t care if you want to die, but don’t take the rest of us with you.
8. Blowing that red light did allow you to get to the stopped traffic on the freeway one full traffic signal rotation sooner. It also caused two of us to have minor strokes. You were not out of control except emotionally – so get a grip before you charge the intersection at 35 mph because the light is a stale yellow. It’s bloody hard to stop when inches count in this weather.
9. Give the other guy a break. Leave some room between you and the next car. Let people out of driveways. Put down the cellphone and concentrate on the conditions. Let the Golden Rule apply. (All combined because they should be common sense.)
That’s it. I feel better. Hopefully one person reads this and is awakened to their bad driving in time to avoid a crash or killing some pedestrian. Use some love, people, and we’ll all benefit.
Have a great day and be safe out there.