Snowstorms and driving.

I applaud those who drive slowly in snow. I have been to enough accidents either as a paramedic, a firefighter or a tow truck operator to have seen my fair share of crashes.

Leaving extra time to arrive at your destination, brushing the snow off of your vehicle (including headlights and taillights) leaving plenty of room between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you and increasing the distance to stop are all solid ways to avoid a trip to the emergency department and your car to the body shop. Oh yes, one other thing – TIRES. good tires, properly inflated are mandatory. See your mechanic if you have questions about tread depth or tread design – it makes a big difference.

Yesterday and today we got what I could consider a moderate snowfall if you included the wind that went with it. The news has been covering it non-stop. To me, a Generation X’er who grew up in the snow much worse than this, I am shocked at how people drive today.

Perhaps it’s the driving education that my dad instilled me. He’s from the North Country (and if you don’t know where that is – look it up) and snow has never bothered him to drive in. he has shown me the finer points of maneuvering a vehicle in less than ideal conditions. Then there was the one time I went to an empty parking lot in the snow and practiced a variety of maneuvers to see just how my car handled in the snow. Additionally, I used to go snowmobiling on the Tug Hill Plateau. That meant trailering our sleds on roads that don’t ever see bare asphalt until spring. They use sand, not salt.

Tonight on my way home from the coffee shop, not one, but two cars ahead of me were driving at 35mph, and had their four-way flashers on. A media colleague was shooting and Periscoping the parking lot that we call 390.

Did we all forget how to drive in the snow because of the mild winters? Are there so many new people in western NY that they have not had the opportunity to drive in snow? Did Generation Y not have the chance to take driver’s education? driving slowly is prudent when necessary, but crawling along on roads with decent visibility is pretty damn frustrating for those of us who have done this a time or two before. Don’t they make a video game for this? Maybe there is an app for that? How about a book? Maybe a YouTube video to satisfy the need to better at driving in western NY?

The slow cars were tolerable tonight, but the four-way flashers?! Holy crap. What happens when we get a REAL storm.

I should also add, if you are that worries about driving in inclement weather, you should be prepared to stay in your car for a few hours, even overnight. Remember the debacle last winter and the Thruway? Blankets, food, flares, a flashlight, etc? And roadside assistance. From your car manufacturer, your insurance company or AAA, ya better have some way of getting your butt winched and towed out if a ditch because you had a death grip and tunnel vision trying to get to wherever. Plan on 3-4 months of snow in western NY.