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Driving, the worst part of winter

February 2, 2013
By SUMMER WALLACE-MINGER , Weirton Daily Times

Have we talked about how much I hate snow this winter yet? No? Probably because Mother Nature is being really bi-polar this year, going from single digits to mid-50s and low-60s in a small span of days. One day it's snow, the next ice, then it's raining.

And that's just this week.

There are a lot of reasons I hate the cold, but most of them deal with driving. It's not enough that my car hates me and wants to go full Christine on me - I swear, it breaks down on purpose. I have to deal with driving in this weather.

I guess that isn't as bad as dealing with everyone else driving in the bad weather. You get both extremes - ultra careful and recklessly crazy.

The ultra careful ones aren't too bad, since you don't have to worry about them swerving off the road, hitting you or doing a roll-over. You do have to worry about being trunked by the person behind you shifting down from acceptable-driving-during-bad-weather speed to creeping-along-only-as-fast-as-the-transmission-pulls-you speed and losing control after having to suddenly brake.

Also, the careful ones - and let's admit it, what they really are is terrified - tend to get stuck. Especially going up hills, because they're afraid to go any faster than they can walk, and they end up sliding or coming to a complete halt. That's no good. In deep snow, once you stop moving uphill, you might as well pull over and wait for the tow truck, because you're never getting the needed momentum to get up that hill.

I can - and have - dodged these people. I hate doing it, because every time I'm passing someone in a snow storm, the universe sends someone going the opposite way just to mess with me. (I must have been plenty wicked in a past life.)

I also hate doing it because it feels like a jerk move - like something one of those crazy drivers would do. I know I seem like an ultra careful to a crazy, but for the love of kittens and rainbows, please take a moment to consider the fact every vehicle out there doesn't have four-wheel drive and studded snow tires.

If you own a Super Duty, Humvee or Range Rover, I hate you. If you own one of the aforementioned and you pass me in a snow storm, I am sitting in my car, gritting my teeth as I carefully navigate my 10-year-old sedan with questionable suspension and an iffy transmission, and hoping you end up in a ditch. I don't wish death on you - unless, perhaps, you send a tsunami of slush onto my windshield, blinding me, as you pass - but I do hope you end up unhurt and your vehicle operational, but stuck, in a ditch. Am I the only person who hopes this? Because if so, I'm really racking up the bad karma points.

I hope you have to sit in shame, knowing your reckless driving was not countered by your enormous vehicle for once. And I hope everyone who passes you points and laughs, except, of course, if you are in an area without cellphone reception.

Then I hope someone stops to assist you in calling for help ... then points and laughs.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com)

 
 

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