NPF: HOW TO DRIVE IN SNOW

Posted in No Politics Friday on January 14th, 2011 by Ed

Look, I know a number of things to be true:

1. Southerners generally cannot drive for shit even in the most pristine road and weather conditions.
2. It doesn't snow much in the South.
3. When #2 is not true, everything shuts down and few people attempt to drive.
4. There are no plows or salt trucks in most of the South.

Combined, these facts mean that very few people in a place like Georgia have any experience driving in typical Midwestern/Northeastern winter conditions. I would not expect anyone here to be good at it per se. But for the love of all that is holy, come on, people. Most aspects of winter driving require only a basic understanding of the laws of physics.

Wait. Maybe that's the problem.

In any event, in future "Snowpocalypses" please try to bear a few key pieces of information in mind or, failing that, to consult this website liberally on your mobile device (not whilst driving, of course).

The Basic Premise: Snow and ice reduce traction. Logically, then, the most dangerous parts of driving in ice and snow are accelerating and decelerating. Your goal is to maintain a nice, reasonable, consistent speed. You can drive in relative safety in snow, solid ice, slush, or freezing rain as long as you remember three things:

1) Slow down. Your F-250 King Cab 4×4 does not make you invincible. Your BMW X5 is not a yuppie snow plow. You can't go 20 over the limit on ice. As for all of you speeding along in your broke-ass 1994 Chevy Lumina on bald summer tires, as much as I would like your experiment to run its course and for you to be removed from the gene pool, I have no intention of being taken with you. All that said…

2) Speed the hell up. Listen to me. Listen as hard as you can. DRIVING 10 MPH IS NOT SAFE. In snow or in any other conditions. It is in fact terribly dangerous. What is wrong with you people? You are not driving through a Cambodian minefield with a collection of Faberge Eggs balanced carefully on your hood. It's just snow. Yes, driving really fast is dangerous. But if you ride your brake, everyone has to slam on the brakes when they come upon you or the massive line of cars forming right on your bumper. Plus…

3) You cannot ride the brake up an icy incline. Physics. Basic goddamn physics, kids. I saw no fewer than five cars stuck on inclines on Monday, each spinning its wheels like a coked-up teenager. Listen very carefully. If you do not give it some gas while going UP a hill, you are going to lose speed. Eventually you will lose so much speed that you will stop moving. Then when you decide to punch the gas, you will spin your wheels. Why? Because you are on fucking ice, "Son." Your car will just slide off in some non-forward direction. When you reach the ditch or the big pile of snow on the side of the road, you will be stuck. Or you will hit the car behind or next to you. Physics, people. Incline. No traction. Speed up.

I am glad we had this talk. Next week I will cover merging into moving highway traffic, parallel parking, and other mysterious skills of the Midwestern Yankee.