It's snowing outside

The snow is still coming down outside my window, which around here is—like rain in Southern California—an unusual but in no way unexpected event. That makes it somewhat topical to comment on local drivers' reaction to this. They basically fall into three camps:

There's the normal reasonable driver camp, that makes up perhaps half of the cars on the road, or slightly less when it's snowing. These are people that have been driving long enough or are generally well-adjusted enough not to hold their masculinity and/or self-worth hostage to their driving style. So they drive at a safe and reasonably speed and are generally law-abiding and courteous. Sure, each individual driver occasionally veers into one of the two modes I'll describe below, but overall they react rationally to current driving conditions.

The second camp is the so-cautious-they're-dangerous camp, that make up around a quarter of the drivers around here. Their style is to drive at a snail's pace any time they see white around them. No matter if the roads are bare and wet, fifteen miles an hour is plenty for them, thankyouverymuch. Similar to the granny doing forty-five in the right lane of the interstate with her left blinker on, their primary function is to provoke the third style of driver.

The third camp has a noticeably forced nonchalance about the fact that traction conditions might be sub-optimal. In fact they typically drive more aggressively on snowy or icy roads than they would if the roads were merely wet. More often than not they're driving a large four-wheel-drive pickup or SUV, but the occasional chip-on-their-shoulder Saab or Volvo driver is also guilty.

Back when I had a more performance-oriented vehicle I was often a member of the third camp (of course there was also the Walter Mitty aspect of playing World Rally Championship on the streets of Bellingham), though I now like to think I'm in the first camp. Fortunately we all grow up. Unfortunately there is always a new batch of whippersnappers to take our place.


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