Introducing the Snow Driving Incompetence Belt (SDIB)

 

BadSnowDrivers A snowstorm is currently threatening America’s capital, which has brought out all the jokes about that city’s lousy drivers. This makes me wonder if there is a narrow zone — a belt, if you will — across the middle of the country where one encounters the most incompetence during snowfall. South of this belt, snow is so rare that it generally keeps people off the roads entirely when it happens; above the line, drivers are — what’s the opposite of incompetent? — competent.

I’d like to ask Ricochet members to nominate their home cities for membership in the Snow Driving Incompetence Belt (SDIB). Here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we’re very safely in the Competent Zone. Places like Dallas and Tampa are solidly in the No Snow Zone.

I’m guessing the SDIB starts in Maryland, passes through Tennessee (or does mountain weather interrupt the belt?), continues on to Oklahoma, and then veers north to Oregon.

Anyone have a better idea of where to draw the line?

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  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    In Albuquerque (high desert), the first snowflake hits with a thunderclap, causing the normally road-rage-addled and Tecate-enriched drivers of the “city” to froth at the mouth, yank at the wheel, and operate all the car’s controls in binary fashion — all or nothing of everything in reach. They pop the gas door and adjust the mirror for dear life while sliding sideways up a curving, half-mile long flyover between interstates. They think a lack of sand on the roads can be corrected with the greatest volume of “celebratory” gunfire this side of a wedding in Tikrit.

    • #1
  2. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Not to be picky, but there’s “incompetence” and “inexperience”. I grew up in TN and we tended to get ice instead of snow but it was irregular enough that road salting was usually only done on primary roads and interstates and no other equipment was available because it just wasn’t worth the cost. It’s hard to blame people for incompetence driving on snow when they’ve perhaps only needed to do it a couple of times in their entire life. It’s why everybody freaks out and tries to stock up on supplies at the mere mention of a snowflake the further South you go (why milk, eggs, and bread I’ll never understand. It’s as if we all plan on surviving on French Toast). Last year here in Charleston it got extremely cold for about a week and schools went to late starts, not even a threat of snow. It wasn’t because folks were wimps, but because many people quite literally didn’t have warm enough clothes for their kids to stand at the bus stops!

    • #2
  3. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    We have no such issues in Texas and yes, we do get snow and ice. It is a biannual occurrence with a guaranteed fatality inducing ice storm when the Super Bowl is played in Arlington.

    We Texans are God fearing and trusting folk so if God bringeth the snow and ice we shut down until God taketh away the same.

    • #3
  4. Blue State Curmudgeon Inactive
    Blue State Curmudgeon
    @BlueStateCurmudgeon

    Take it from someone in Syracuse, which gets more snow than any city its size in the country that the most dangerous device on a car in a snow storm is the brake.  More incidents and accidents are caused by people going too slow than going too fast.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Fredösphere: Places like Dallas and Tampa are solidly in the No Snow Zone.

    Dallas gets snow every couple of years, and sometimes gets seriously dumped on. It may not give them enough experience to give them competence, but they’re no Tampa. I think they’re in the zone.

    • #5
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The worse drivers I saw in snow were in Georgia.  As soon as the snow hit all those 4x4s would be out in force to enjoy their vehicles.  The problem was that while a 4×4 does tend not to get stuck in snow, and it does turn much better in snow.  It really does not stop any better in snow.  That is a bad lesson to learn the hard way but many of them did.

    • #6
  7. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Fake John/Jane Galt:The worse drivers I saw in snow were in Georgia. As soon as the snow hit all those 4x4s would be out in force to enjoy their vehicles. The problem was that while a 4×4 does tend not to get stuck in snow, and it does turn much better in snow. It really does not stop any better in snow. That is a bad lesson to learn the hard way but many of them did.

    You play in the fields boys, in the fields! You’d think good ‘ole boys would know better.

    • #7
  8. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    LesserSon of Barsham:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:The worse drivers I saw in snow were in Georgia. As soon as the snow hit all those 4x4s would be out in force to enjoy their vehicles. The problem was that while a 4×4 does tend not to get stuck in snow, and it does turn much better in snow. It really does not stop any better in snow. That is a bad lesson to learn the hard way but many of them did.

    You play in the fields boys, in the fields! You’d think good ‘ole boys would know better.

    I wager 66% of vehicles sold with selectable 4WD are never engaged. There are still an awful lot of urban cowboys and commandos.

    At least says the Dallas city dweller tooling around in his Hummer.

    • #8
  9. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    LesserSon of Barsham:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:The worse drivers I saw in snow were in Georgia. As soon as the snow hit all those 4x4s would be out in force to enjoy their vehicles. The problem was that while a 4×4 does tend not to get stuck in snow, and it does turn much better in snow. It really does not stop any better in snow. That is a bad lesson to learn the hard way but many of them did.

    You play in the fields boys, in the fields! You’d think good ‘ole boys would know better.

    Many of them ended up in ditches.  But then maybe it was a plan so they could play with their winches?

    • #9
  10. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Fake John/Jane Galt:

    LesserSon of Barsham:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:The worse drivers I saw in snow were in Georgia. As soon as the snow hit all those 4x4s would be out in force to enjoy their vehicles. The problem was that while a 4×4 does tend not to get stuck in snow, and it does turn much better in snow. It really does not stop any better in snow. That is a bad lesson to learn the hard way but many of them did.

    You play in the fields boys, in the fields! You’d think good ‘ole boys would know better.

    Many of them ended up in ditches. But then maybe it was a plan so they could play with their winches?

    That is probably it, or at least the excuse I would have used. “No, no, I meant to do that! I got this new winch three years ago and….”

    • #10
  11. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    BrentB67:

    LesserSon of Barsham:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:The worse drivers I saw in snow were in Georgia. As soon as the snow hit all those 4x4s would be out in force to enjoy their vehicles. The problem was that while a 4×4 does tend not to get stuck in snow, and it does turn much better in snow. It really does not stop any better in snow. That is a bad lesson to learn the hard way but many of them did.

    You play in the fields boys, in the fields! You’d think good ‘ole boys would know better.

    I wager 66% of vehicles sold with selectable 4WD are never engaged. There are still an awful lot of urban cowboys and commandos.

    At least says the Dallas city dweller tooling around in his Hummer.

    We have a Jeep that we haven’t put into 4 wheel drive yet, but we need different tires before taking it off road. A few hours North of us there is a 4×4 playground with all kinds of trails for it. As soon as we have the tires for it we’ll have to go on a camping trip.

    • #11
  12. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Massachusetts drivers can’t drive under any conditions; in this survey of 200 US cities, our three largest metropolitan areas had the 200th, 199th, and 197th worst drivers.

    • #12
  13. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Massachusetts drivers can’t drive under any conditions; in this survey of 200 US cities, our three largest metropolitan areas had the 200th, 199th, and 197th worst drivers.

    They are, apparently, #1 in consistency… (silver linings!)

    • #13
  14. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    BrentB67:I wager 66% of vehicles sold with selectable 4WD are never engaged. There are still an awful lot of urban cowboys and commandos.

    At least says the Dallas city dweller tooling around in his Hummer.

    I wager the percentage of north of 66%.  I laugh at guys in 4×4 pickups who won’t even drive on the shoulder to go around someone turning left.

    I’m one of those who gets out in the ice right away.  But I’ve used my Jeep to pull people out of ditches or up hills.  If you want to take the Hummer out sometime, Brent, let me know.  We’ll head over to Bridgeport.  Nothing like a little natural pin-striping to earn offroad credibility.

    • #14
  15. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Massachusetts drivers can’t drive under any conditions; in this survey of 200 US cities, our three largest metropolitan areas had the 200th, 199th, and 197th worst drivers.

    Sounds like a motto for the welcome sign:

    Welcome to Massachusetts

    Home of the 197th, 199th, and 200th worst driver surveys in the country!

    • #15
  16. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I am enjoying all the media begging Hummer owners to volunteer to drive doctors to hospitals, etc.

    Demonized the rest of the year as an evil, greedy, planet-hating pig, the SUV owner redeems himself whenever there is so much snow that every other vehicle high-centers.

    If I owned a proper snow rig, I would demand formal letters of fealty and appreciation from passengers before transporting them.

    • #16
  17. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Massachusetts drivers can’t drive under any conditions; in this survey of 200 US cities, our three largest metropolitan areas had the 200th, 199th, and 197th worst drivers.

    I am glad you have stats to back up what I have seen anecdotally . My friends used to have a non-COC nickname they would shout out whenever they saw a car with a Massachusetts plate.

    • #17
  18. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    iWe:I am enjoying all the media begging Hummer owners to volunteer to drive doctors to hospitals, etc.

    Demonized the rest of the year as an evil, greedy, planet-hating pig, the SUV owner redeems himself whenever there is so much snow that every other vehicle high-centers.

    If I owned a proper snow rig, I would demand formal letters of fealty and appreciation from passengers before transporting them.

    I got all over the DC area last year in the 9″ snowstorm with nothing but a rented Prius. You don’t need a Hummer, just the ability to drive in bad conditions. And a GPS to bypass all the roads closed by other people who don’t know how to drive.

    • #18
  19. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Years ago when I moved to Seattle I was surprised at how much traffic would slow down whenever it rained. Unlike snow in DC, rain in Seattle is not that rare.

    • #19
  20. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    1433334717823318

    “You should see me drive, Tarly”

    • #20
  21. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Vance Richards:Years ago when I moved to Seattle I was surprised at how much traffic would slow down whenever it rained. Unlike snow in DC, rain in Seattle is not that rare.

    This is no joke, and it’s not even “rain” like a downpour. It starts misting and the average MPH drops by 15 or 20.

    • #21
  22. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    The divide is real:

    • #22
  23. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    Sadly, snow and ice isn’t much better:

    (In their defense, Seattle proper is nothing but one big hill really)

    • #23
  24. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    C. U. Douglas:The divide is real:

    Dang it, you beat me to it…

    • #24
  25. Jim Chase Member
    Jim Chase
    @JimChase

    12494676_10153540130813580_4148778306394615691_n

    • #25
  26. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Portlanders cannot drive in snow. At all. The Pacific NW pretty much shuts down people who do go out are nuts.

    Two years ago, my office sent me to their Seattle location to meet folks there. On the way back, we had one of the few snowstorms Portland ever gets. It’s typically a three hour drive. Amanda and I got home 13 hours later thanks to the insanity of the traffic.

    At our house, there was a hill with a dead-end street outside the picture window in our living room. Amanda would sit and watch our neighbors attempt to gun it up the hill, fail, then slowly drift down and return to their driveways. She found it quite entertaining.

    • #26
  27. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Pittsburgh does well except for the first snow of the year. Then it’s Oh I forgot to put on the snow tires this year.

    • #27
  28. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    I agree with this somewhat but I also caught Northerners in their big lie about their great snow driving capabilities when I was held prisoner of war in in Southwest Michigan in the early 90’s.  The secret is….IT’S FLAT UP THERE AND THE ROADS ARE STRAIGHT!!  I was driving in a foot of snow with a rear wheel drive car up there.  If you did slide off the road, you went into a field and just drove back on.  In East Tennessee we don’t have flat roads and if you slide off one you will most likely be plummeting towards certain impact with a tree!

    • #28
  29. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    In Southeastern Connecticut most people can’t drive to begin with. But when it snows all the posers with their BMW 3 series or other rear wheel drive car end up sliding all over the road and cause accidents.

    • #29
  30. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Concretevol: …when I was held prisoner of war in in Southwest Michigan in the early 90’s.

    I’d like to hear more about that.

    • #30
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