Thursday, February 12, 2004

Amateur hour 

It snowed here in Denver yesterday, prompting a phenomenon I like to call Amateur Hour, named such because everyone on the road reverts to age 16 when they were novice drivers. It probably snowed a couple inches, depending on where in the metro area you were. As usual, this resulted in the standard reaction to inclement weather here-terror and poor driving. I know the perceived view of Denver is of cold and snowy winters. This is not true. When I moved here, I was told that Denver gets 300 days of sun a year. After living here for 5 years now, I would not doubt it. It's a hell of a change from the 900 days a year of grey back in the Midwest. But as I mentioned, there is a drawback. People here don't have any idea how to drive in the snow or rain.

To exacerbate the situation, drivers here are also scared of turns in the road. I have never seen such variances in driving speed as I have here. High speeds are maintained on straight sections, but as soon as a curve is detected, brakes are crushed until the curve is past and then the accelerator gets its turn on the floor. This is very much a state of extreme brake/gas usage. I am surprised more people don't suffer from whiplash from their own driving. But I digress. I was talking about snow driving.

Drivers do one of two things (for the most part. There is the rare accomplished driver that knows how to drive in snow): they either get terrified and drive so defensively that they are at risk of causing accidents, or they ignore the fact that there is snow on the ground and continue driving/weaving/hard braking and are at risk of causing accidents.

An example: I am in the mountains most weekends in the winter to get my needed dosage of skiing. In my trips up there, I've taken notice of the vehicles that slide off the road. Of all the cars you see in the ditches, a vast majority are SUVs. These brilliant people think that having a very heavy SUV will enable them to drive the same regardless of weather. Unfortunately, they find out the hard way that they don't have all wheel stop and they can have the rear end slide out on a curve just like any other vehicle.

The other extreme is the driver that sits hunched over the wheel looking like they are on the verge of having an embolism from fear. They not only drive slow, but are so engrossed in grasping their steering wheel that they are oblivious to the cars they cut off and veer into.

I, on the other hand, love driving in the snow (when no one else is around). Unfortunately, my car is front wheel drive and is not near as fun as the pick-up was. Further note: When I had my truck, I used the 4-wheel drive maybe twice when it snowed in town. Not quite the same as those who throw the 4x4 on at the first hint of snow and end up sliding thru stop signs and around corners. Makes me laugh

Speaking of snow, why can't I be skiing today instead of sitting in this cube/cage?

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com