Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When Snow Tries to Kill You

I like the fact that the Greenwich Time's editorial today is about shitty drivers. Specifically, the thoughtless ones who don't clear snow off the top of their cars.

I'm going to admit, there were probably times I didn't clean off my car fully. In the South, we rarely had to worry about this, since snow only accumulated a couple of times a year. When I got up here, I don't think I understood right away that the snow can melt a little, freeze, and then form a horrifying sheet of ice that can peel off as you're roaring down 95.
I understand why people don't clean off the top of their cars. After you've dug your car out of two feet of snow, and cleaned off all the windows and lights, sometimes you just need to get going to work. And, if the ice and snow has already frozen, it's really hard to get it off the roof of your car.
So, I'm not saying that all people who leave snow on top of their car are homicidal maniacs, but I've lived here long enough to understand how dangerous that leftover snow can be.

I've had the bliss of a garage for the past 3 years, and that luxury has spoiled me enough so that I can now judge other people who do it. "Ugh! Why didn't that idiot clean off their car!" I say as snow smashes in front of me, or as snowy mist blinds me on 95.
Well, because it's human nature. We're in a rush, we don't think clearly, and we just think the snow will blow off and not cause a problem.

The Greenwich Time ends with the only possible conclusion: we have to watch out for ourselves. We're not going to be able to ticket everyone who leaves snow on their car, so we just have to drive defensively and stay far from vehicles with snow on top.

Remember, though, even a week after a storm, cars might have snow left, and sometimes it's hard to see the snow left on top of tall vehicles like the Pathfinder and the big Lexus SUV. Just a reminder for you in your holiday travels... and a reminder to make sure your car is cleared off.


J from CT said...

It's not that people who leave snow on top of their car are homicidal maniacs, it's that they're either ignorant or inconsiderate. Ignorant if they don't know what snow left on the car does, inconsiderate if they do know, but leave it there anyway.

I don't pass judgment on those who at least try to get the snow off. I understand when there's stuff frozen to it that just won't come off. But you can drive around and see who's made at least some effort to brush the snow off, and who's just brushed off their windows and left the rest alone.

I hate the argument that people give "well I can't reach on the roof of the car". Tough. Buy a brush with a longer handle, then. You knew how big the car was when you bought it. Part of maintaining a car is brushing the snow off the roof.

It's one of my biggest peeves of any season. When the weather's right, when it warms up a little bit after it snows and the inconseridati still have mounds on their roof, I look for cars driving behind me like that just so I can hit the brakes, causing them to slam their brakes on and slide the snow/ice right off the front of their car.

I was once driving with a friend who couldn't be bothered to brush the snow off, and as they came to a stop it all slid off onto a car in front of him... a police car. We were both waiting for the cop to hit the lights and give him a ticket, but he just drove off.

Even worse is on the highway and you see the semis with huge sheets that come flying off! Incredibly dangerous - although if it ended up hitting a car with snow on its roof, I probably wouldn't be so sympathetic.

Other than that, I'm generally a decent person.

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marathon mom said...

Dude I am a hick from Texas and I would not have known this if I hadn't read it here. Obviously, we don't have the same issue here. It makes sense though. Kind of like how when someone hydroplanes through a massive puddle and blinds you I guess???

Hopefully idiots like me are given the message when they cross the border!!

GA Peach said...

Agreed, I just moved from Georgia and I had no idea! The windows I was pretty sure you had to clear off, but the lights and the roof would never have occurred to me. Thank you for letting me know!

Also, they can ticket you for stuff like that?? I feel like I need a CT driving manual... brush up on the basics...

Rob Fitz said...

Living in CT for five years now, I understand people from warmer areas not understanding the consequences here. However, there's no way that half the people around Stamford have never driven in the snow (or rain for that matter) before, yet every time something falls from the sky I feel like everyone panics, forgets how to drive, etc.

NY and MA has the worse rep for bad driving, but having spent significant time in both and CT, CT is easily the most absentminded driving.