Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow – Love It or Hate It?

Posted in Life tagged , , , , at 10:49 pm by Elaine Petrowski

It’s not even officially been winter for a month and so far, we’ve had nearly a foot of snow here in Northern New Jersey. In fact, it’s snowing as I write this.

snowy day

snowy day

I’m not complaining.  I actually like snow. I’m pleased that it covers the gray world we find ourselves  in right now,  that it softens street sounds, creates some incredibly beautiful visual details (if you take the time to look), and gives me an excuse to stay home and knit if I feel like it. A snowy afternoon reawakens the little girl  in me, who always had the hope that enough snow would pile up to reach all the way to the top of my boots … and to  close school.  I love that the snow glitters in the sun for a few days after the fact, and that it provides moisture for my garden while keeping it warm and safe on these frigid nights. In fact,  I might even venture to say that I love the snow.

There’s only one thing about it I don’t like.  No, not shoveling. I don’t even mind that, if I can take my time. But I do hate driving in the snow.  And it’s not because I lack the skill.  After all, I grew up here in   the Northeast and it’s snowed every winter since I got my license at the age of 18. And my  father, who taught me to drive, insisted that I learn to drive in snow and that the  only way to do that was… to drive in the snow. Because snow happens here.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, it’s not my driving skills I question, it’s the driver who insists on following me about three feet off my back bumper,  apparently because he’s irked at the fact that I’m driving at less than the speed limit.  Or the driver who’s not twenty feet away,  looks my way, and still decides to pull out, apparently believing that the half ton of fiberglas and metal I’m heading toward him in will stop on a dime.  It’s the driver who treats the fourth of January like it was  the Fourth of July who scares the be-jesus out of me.

Is it that we are all in a big hurry?  Is it that some of us are new to snow and so really haven’t  driven in it before? Is it that some of us think we are invincible? Or that some of us are just plain rude, and possibly, just plain dumb? Or a little bit of all of the above, and then some?

What are your thoughts on driving in the snow? Are you comfortable doing it?  Are you good at it?  Do you have a favorite tactic for avoiding trouble? Or do you live where it doesn’t snow?

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4 Comments »

  1. wow — you hit on a few crazy drivers I’d forgotten about.
    Be careful out there, eveyone.

  2. Dee said,

    I must admit, I have a love-hate relationship with winter. When I am in the love-of-winter phase of the relationship, I see the snow as the perfect present bestowed upon us as it always seems to brighten up the most dismal and drab time of the year. This is when Mother Nature gifts her naked and shivering landscape with a gorgeous, shimmering bridal gown. The point where my love of this fabric of winter turns from awe and delight is when I am faced with task of driving to the wedding in that stunning but SLIPPERY, white gown! This is when I feel like a part of a jittery bride’s nightmare where, as she is dressing on her wedding day, discovers there is only black lingerie in her bureau to wear with her gorgeous white wedding gown! This is when the honeymoon is over for me and my winter love turns into sheer terror, panic and then hate. Please don’t ask me to drive in the snow! I have not always been this fearful to drive in the snow. It is the result of being involved in a motor vehicle accident which dramatically changed the course of my life in a negative way. This occurred one warm, sunny morning when the road was as “dry as a bone” as “they” say. So, the thought of driving in the snow puts me into a state of panic. I deal with the fear by telecommuting from the comfort of my home.

    Yes, over the years, I too have certainly had experience with reckless and overly aggressive drivers. In snow or rain or shine, it seems there are folks out there driving who think all the rules of the road are mere suggestions and the laws are for everyone else but them. Where I live in Pennsylvania, heaven help you if you try to drive obeying the speed limit! “They” will tailgate you and run you off the road for sure.

    The most amazingly wacky driver behavior I have observed is when folks speed from red traffic light to red traffic light, when the lights are spaced not that far apart and they are timed so you will always get a red light as you approach the traffic signal. I ask myself, why race to a light that is going to turn red in my face and then slam on my breaks and sit and wait for the light to turn green only to race to the next light which is going to inevitably be red? There are many folks here in Southeastern Pennsylvania who drive this way. They will even pass you in a no passing zone for the pleasure of sitting one car ahead of you while both of you sit waiting for the red light to turn green! This one has always puzzled me.

    My “favorite” reckless driver is probably the one who speeds around me in the no passing zone on the hilly, winding two-lane roads we have in this area ~ not because I was driving way under the speed limit, but because I was obeying the speed limit! If I do happen to drive below the speed limit, it is for a good reason; that is, usually, to avoid the deer that seem to delight in jumping out of the woods and fields in front of moving cars. I have lived in this area for nearly thirty years and know this happens quite frequently and I think that is a pretty good reason to slow down a bit. Perhaps the folks who tailgate and zip around me are tourists or “newbies” from the city who do not realize how frequently deer pull this prank on drivers around here. The probably have no idea how much damage a deer can cause running into a car.

    Then there is the person who waits until you get close to them and they turn right in front of you. Once they are in front of you, they do twenty miles per hour BELOW the speed limit and you are stuck behind them for miles on some two-lane road. Why were they in such a hurry when they turned in front of you and, once they got in front of you, they decided whatever the reason was, it was no longer urgent! There is also the reverse of this one. This is the person who sees you are going to make a right turn from a side street onto the busy road ahead of them. These “kindly” folks like to speed up once you are in the middle of your turn. There was plenty of time to safely make your turn until they decided to put the pedal to the metal! I had one fellow do this to me just yesterday. When I was sitting directly behind him waiting for the traffic signal to turn green, I could see his windshield which had a layer of ice on the driver’s side! Perhaps he could not see me making the turn because of the ice on the windshield obstructing his view? Either way, pretty scary to me…….

    I tend to believe the reckless drivers out there must be ignorant of the consequences in doing so. Perhaps they don’t know anyone who has ever been in a car accident and they do not realize what a life-changing event a motor vehicle accident can be. A single car accident can change the course of a person’s life, and not for the better. An accident does not necessarily need to be major to have a significant negative impact on one’s life. Maybe the reckless drivers have not had the sobering experience of any near misses or the jolting experience of an actual collision with another object.

    Even if they don’t have the benefit of knowledge of experience of their own or a friend or relative, you would think they would realize the potential risks and consequences. It stands to reason, if a car can sustain some pretty serious gashes and dents when something as small and slow as an empty shopping cart hits it, what will happen if something bigger and faster collides with the car, like another car, a wall or tree? Perhaps the reckless drivers are overly optimistic souls who are in denial concerning their own mortality. Perhaps they have the attitude that nothing will happen to them, “bad things happen to other people and not me” and if something does happen to them, it will not be all that bad anyway.

  3. I live outside Spokane, Washington. We were told this would be a light snow year as we had four feet last winter. So the first snowfall bringing 2″ seemed right. Then December 17 it began snowing. And didn’t stop until after the new year! The first twenty four hours we had 19.5″. That caused everything to grind to a halt. Plows came out and were put on 24/7 duty until the snow stopped. Little did they know that would be weeks down the road.
    Winter break began that day. We were off three weeks. After the snow let up, the Pineapple Express brought 40 degree temperatures and forty mile an hour winds. That melted the snow back three or four feet. Now we were flooding.
    We finally returned to school last Thursday to a collection of buckets catching water leaks from the roof. About thirty buildings in town had collapsed roofs. One barn in the county had fallen on a herd of elk that had taken refuge. The meat was taken to the local food banks so it wasn’t a total waste. We haven’t reached the harsh part of winter yet. Who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us.
    The neat part about all this is the birds that come in to feed since the fields are covered. We watch quail, pheasant, woodpeckers, chickadees, finches and other birds right outside our kitchen window. We recognize individuals. They seem to know us. We even have hawks swooping down from our roof to catch a meal now and then. Everyone needs to eat.
    Lately, we have had deer and moose use the roads to travel since the snow is too deep to maneuver. Yesterday, we passed two moose munching on old fruit trees in a neighbor’s yard. Then we saw a flock of wild turkeys in the road. As we turned the corner, we almost hit a chicken crossing the road. Why?

  4. susan andrews said,

    I live in the Midwest and am very familiar with snow. It’s beautiful to look at and I too love the way the greenery looks with all of the snow sprinkled on it. In fact I designed the garden in a way to capture the snow on objects to look appealing in this dreadfully dull season. Snow makes it brighter and that is a good thing for a girl who needs light in the winter !
    I agree with the crazy drivers… they are here too. However, no offense, but those same Jersey drivers are tailing you even in the summer and pulling right in front of you knowing full well that you will slow down and wait for them. It’s not a seasonal thing and it really isn’t any different in the other parts of the country. California drivers are equally rude and they don’t even really have a decent snow, ever.
    My biggest problem is driving when there is ice and 9 times out of 10 we have a sheet of ice on the streets instead of snow. Cars are not suppose to drive on an ice rink. It just doesn’t work.
    so… I’m ready for Spring to break… I know it’s not for a while but my spirit needs it. I need the chirping of birds, bright sun with fluffy clouds, and the buds on the trees ready to break. Ah… that will be my little heaven.


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