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Snow Drivers

By now, you would think that most everyone would have either learned how to drive in winter weather, or would have been removed from the driving pool through attrition.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to have happened quite as often as I would have wanted.  Here are a few of the people I have run into so far today while making my way to and from work:

  • The “Eastbound and Down” – An over the road semi-driver who has been there, done that, and doesn’t seem to have learned anything from the experience.  He’s got a half gallon of hot coffee, a truck full of sundry goods to move, and not enough time to get to his destination.  He’s going to try to push through the worst conditions, because there are people who need that load of toilet paper and kitty litter in Des Moines.  I’ll give this one a break on occasion, because sometimes he does it out of fear for his job when his manager or dispatcher tells him to push through, no matter what.
  • The “35 and Alive” – This is the driver that I appreciate when the weather sucks, but want to napalm when the roads are clean and dry.  They’ll make it to their destination safely, and you’ll make it home eventually, no matter how good or bad the road conditions.  Usually can be identified by the AARP or “My honor student goes to the Mengele Institute” bumper stickers.
  • The “Four Low and Foxy” – This bluntskull thinks that because there is a knobby set of tires on her rims and a 4WD button on the shift stick, she can power through anything, including an inch of ice on the road.  In her defense, without her ministrations, I would never be able to say that I’ve seen a Hummer H2 do a pirouette on I-65.
  • The “Tunnel Vision” – This oxygen thief clears a small hole in the snow and frost on the windshield, and possibly on the driver’s window, but leaves 18 inches of snow, ice, and schmutz on the other windows, along with the roof and back deck of the car.  They have a field of vision that’s about as wide as their shoulders, so be aware that they may not see or hear you as you signal their error in trying to merge with your engine compartment on the freeway.  They provide a service to the community, though, because where else can you test out your wiper blades and anti-lock brakes at the same time?
  • The “Live to Ride” – This cretin does not care how cold it is, nor how bad the roads, he’s riding that hog every day of the year.  You go from wondering at what he’s thinking, to saluting his skill at negotiating winter roads on two wheels, to praying for his soul the first time you see him hit a patch of black ice.  He gets extra points if it’s not a Harley he’s riding, but rather he’s braving the Arctic blast on a Schwinn.
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  1. Lazy Bike Commuter

     /  March 6, 2015

    I’ve been known to bike for many miles on 100% black ice. Of course, I had studded tires, and was generally on a separated path…

  2. One winter at Fort Carson, CO, I was tapped along with the other senior NCOs in the company to give a “winter safety” class.

    If we’d had cell phones back then I could have done the whole thing with illustrations I’d snapped on the way in that morning. Mr. Tunnel Vision is apparently from Colorado Springs.

  3. AH yes, Mr. and Mrs. Schwinn… Encountered them yesterday, riding in the right traffic lane… He pranged and knocked her into the left lane… And caused a three car pile up when the car in front tried to stop before hitting her… The other two cars slid on the ice and it was bumper cars. Apparently they got up and rode merrily on their way, not caring about the accident they’d caused. And since it was a divided road, we spent 20 minutes sitting there waiting for the lanes to get cleared up… sigh

  4. Phssthpok

     /  March 7, 2015

    I was all three on Wednesday, driving back to the PacNW from Floriduh.

    I left the Space Coast area at 4:30 in the morning and hit Nashville *just* in time for a strong cocktail of ‘rush hour’ and “oh shit!..there’s water on the road…what do I DOOOooo?” idiots. By the time I got clear of the metro area and was able to get back up to normal freeway speeds the rain had turned solid (sleet) and was coming down in quantities great enough to start making it LOOK like snow on the ground. Enter ’35 and alive’.

    Pushing on, the sleet turned to snow, then to blizzard (~15 foot visibility) and the temps dropped enough that my defroster wasn’t putting out enough heat to keep the wiper blades ice free such that they were able to (properly) do their job. Enter ‘tunnel vision’. With no where to stop (safely) I was reduced to sticking my hand out the window with the snow-brush/scraper (http://tinyurl.com/lrk6o4g) to clear a porthole of vision. (The ‘caveat’ is that there was no snow left piled on the truck, nor were the side windows affected as they were cold enough that the falling snow wasn’t sticking to them).

    It took me roughly 5 hours to make it from the south side of Nashville to a point roughly 30 miles from Paducah….a distance of roughly 100 miles. I got stopped for about an hour or so on I-24 behind a jack-knifed semi, and took the first available exit to stop for the night after that. How fortuitous for me that said exit was the point at which Kentucky DOT decided to close the freeway…behind me.

    At 4:30 Thursday morning the snowfall had tapered off to near nothing so I cleared the truck of all the loose snow I could (not a tunnel vision guy if I can help it), and got rolling northbound…gingerly. See also: *20* and alive. Conditions improved the further north and west I got such that I was on dry pavement by the time I got halfway across Illinois (spit!).

    I arrived home early evening on Friday. Space Coast,Fl to NE Washington in three days. what a trip.

  5. I think I would have taken 10 across to AZ and then north…
    (Ass-you-me’ing you wanted to avoid CA.)
    (I once did MI to WA 75 down to 10, across, and then up 5.)

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