Snow is Scary

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Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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11 Responses

  1. We don’t get snow out here, but I see the same thing with people driving normal highway speeds in heavy fog with severely reduced visibility.Report

  2. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Yep. Welcome to my world. I sometimes wonder if modern cars aren’t engineered a bit too well. It all works so well in sorta adverse conditions that it results in a false sense of confidence. 4WD/AWD is nice but it doesn’t alter the physics of friction between the tires and the road. What it does is make it a lot easier to get around on snowy streets and parking lots at low speed but it doesn’t do a damn thing for you at highway speeds.Report

  3. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Yeah, driving on city streets as snowy as what’s on that video clip wouldn’t give me to think twice – that’s normal conditions for three or four months of the year here. In half an hour I’m going to hop on my bicycle and ride to my medical appointment on probably 5 cm of hard pack show (the main roads are mostly free of snow but too fast for bicycling). 25% more conservatism is a nice way to sum it up, though there are also specific skills to practice.

    But that only applies in cities that normally get lots of snow, so you can expect other drivers to know how to handle it. This kind of conditions in North Carolina works be terrifying.

    And driving on a highway that snowy – whole different matter.Report

  4. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    Yep. That happens around here too. I think we’ve had 5 snow days in the last 2 weeks because the schools decided children dying on the roads was a reasonable possibility.

    To be fair, all communities are prepared to deal with 99% of the weather they have. So if -40 windchill was a common thing then I doubt the schools would have closed.

    Similarly if a place never gets snow then a quarter inch of freezing rain shuts down the community.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Dark Matter says:

      A friend of mine who grew up in Labrador shared the school closure standards from the time she was a kid. I think a -50 C windchill closed down K-3, but older kids were expected to attend still. It took something like -65 C to shut down the whole works all the way to grade 12.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I agree 99% with this take except the toxic masculinity part. I don’t really see that here. It seems like dumb statements by dudes doesn’t immediately = toxicity, does it?Report

  6. Avatar Maribou says:

    So while the 25 percent is dubious (and I think meant humorously to contrast with the ignore/panic cycle), and the Make It Home at All Costs attitude is *extremely* dubious, especially in contexts where a lot of people should be staying the fish where they are and accepting being snowed in, as someone who grew up with a lot of snow for many months out of the year, the actual advice given, when the snarky voice is filtered out, is really not that bad. Basic defensive driving for bad road conditions.

    Like, if only the people on the road here in Co Springs would follow it when there is snow, instead of acting like oblivious monkeys, I would be very happy.

    If anyone who would otherwise act like an oblivious monkey remembered the linked article and, say, thought ahead about following distance, being relaxed about other people cutting their speed by 10mph, and getting up hills when there is snow on the ground, I would be happier than not.

    That said, the whole “get out and solve stuckness / other traffic problems yourself as opposed to contacting emergency services and making sure the person doesn’t freeze to death in the meantime” attitude is kind of stupid and quite possibly would lead to further harms. But that doesn’t mean I can claim to have never been the same kind of stupid. (See above re: years of living in the snow.) I don’t do that here because the reaction of all the oblivious/panicked drivers around me would probably lead to a 10-car pile-up or something.Report

  7. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    I’m pretty sure that video is from a 37-vehicle pileup near Salina, KS last week. Word I got was that 5 or 6 people died. Cars were getting smashed between big trucks.Report

    • Yesterday evening a snow squall went across the main road to the Denver airport, abruptly cutting visibility. 49-car pile up — several people hospitalized but none with life-threatening injuries. The worst snow storm for visibility I ever had to drive in was thick enough that brake lights of the car in front of you disappeared at about 15 feet.Report

  8. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    I’d like to say this is just a problem in states that get an occasional snow, but even in WI, we had knuckleheads who had no excuse not to know better, driving along like they had traction, when what they had was merely inertia.Report

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