I’ve lived in a lot of snowy places.
I grew up in west-central Ohio, where as a teenager we had two of the best blizzards seen in the Midwest before global warming. I moved to Colorado, where I once spent an hour driving through a whiteout in the mountains; the only reason I survived is that the tail lights belonging to the truck I was following didn’t drive into a ravine. I moved to Connecticut, where we had more than 100 inches of snow during my first winter there; it snowed before Thanksgiving, and I only saw one blade of grass poke through the white blanket of pain until the snow finally melted in April. And I’ve owned a lake cottage in central Michigan, where it snowed so much and for so long that we’d occasionally have to shovel the roof.
Yet, it was only when I moved to Columbus, Ohio, that I found the world’s worst winter drivers.
Come to think of it, it’s misleading to refer to them as winter drivers. They’re more like drivers who anticipate winter weather, so they start driving like they’re in the middle of Winter Storm Cantore when it starts sprinkling and the roads get a tiny bit wet. Traffic breaks down as if someone released a million marbles across the road.
So today, with the temperature a mild 50 degrees but with a forecast for rain later in the day turning to snow overnight – an inch of snow, mind you, that will melt tomorrow because the ground’s so warm – I decided it was time to risk the stares and scorn of my teenage daughter by texting her a few reminders of how to handle driving in this weather. I probably would’ve left it alone except that she hasn’t driven on snow or ice since I took her to a frozen store parking lot when she was learning to drive. Then she went to Florida for her freshman year of college, where I’m sure she didn’t get to practice her snow skills; Florida’s idea of winter driving is going around the elderly on your way to the beach.
So here’s what I wrote to her:
“Since the weather’s turning bad this afternoon, and you haven’t driven on snow or ice since, well, ever, I’m going to annoy you with several driving tips:
“1. Everyone driving around you is crazy.
“2. Allow for extra following distance.
“3. Don’t jam or lock your brakes.
“4. Everyone around you is nuts.
“5. Do everything slowly.
“6. If you start skidding, just turn the wheel in the direction that you want to go.
“7. Oh, yeah, almost forgot this one – everyone driving around you is bat-shit crazy.
“Have fun with it! Love, Dad.”
Hey, it doesn’t make me Father of the Year, but it makes me feel better that I sent the reminder. She’s a smart kid; she can handle herself on snowy roads. Still, I can’t help but wonder – did I give enough attention to how bad the other drivers will be?
(C.W. Grody’s latest humor book, “Since Before You Were Born,” is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Since-Before-You-Were-Born-ebook/dp/B00EHT3B5G. He’s also the author of 12 books for children as well as hundreds of articles in national magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Sport, and Boys Life.)