I’d say “Stop me if you’ve seen this before,” but my guess is you’ve seen it. I’d be more interested in knowing if you haven’t seen any of these.
I try not to venture out too often during snowstorms like the one we just had, mostly because I don’t trust other drivers. Spending my entire driving life living in northern Michigan – including several years in the snow belt on the west side of the Lower Peninsula and two winters in the Upper Peninsula going to college – I have no issues with driving in poor conditions and know when to stay off the roads.
I feel like I’ve seen it all. Now I want to know if you haven’t seen these while driving in wintry conditions:
- Visibility is less than 100 feet and some idiot doesn’t have on his/her headlights. This is probably the most common driving offense and is especially troublesome when the vehicle in question is white. Holy *#@!
- Someone quite animated on their cell phone even though the roads are snow covered and slippery with near zero visibility. I saw a woman this week waving one hand with her cell phone in the other. Umm, do you have a third arm steering? I don’t talk on the phone while driving that much, but I also have my phone synced with the bluetooth in my vehicle so I don’t have to hold on to the phone while driving. I wish more people would do that if their car has that capability. The only thing worse is watching someone hold a phone in one hand, a cigarette with the other and they are more focused on blowing the smoke out the window than driving on the road.
- Someone driving the same way during a storm as if it were summertime. On a portion of street that hadn’t been plowed for a little while, I had a towing company vehicle behind me this week so close that if I had hit brakes he’d have had to make room on the flat bed for me. He apparently wasn’t watching the driver 30 feet ahead of me who was swerving back and forth between lanes and constantly tapping their brakes.
- The person whose idea of checking traffic at an intersection is to stick most of their vehicle into the intersection so you have to wave them onto the street. Never mind that the snow bank is only a couple of feet high and they could easily have seen traffic in both directions from a safe stopping spot out of the intersection.
- The “cool” dude – usually a guy under the age of 30 but not always – who thinks its fun to hit the gas while making a turn at a stop sign so they fish tail back and forth. Then they become panicked when they realize they were a dumb ass who should have looked both ways and they need to avoid the person shoveling at the end of a driveway directly in the path of the back end of the pickup.
- The idiot who never shoveled his driveway for a couple of days and then, with three feet of snow and hard, plowed snow slop, tries to get out of the driveway and gets stuck. Then, he waves down someone to help him get out. Sorry, dude, I shoveled my way out.
As they say, it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round. I just wish some would think more before getting behind the wheel during a snowstorm.
Steve Murch is a former managing editor and award-winning columnist for The Alpena News. He’s a lifelong Michigan resident, a broken and defeated fan of the Detroit Lions and a forever optimistic fan of the Detroit Tigers. His column will appear most Thursdays.