Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Don't slow down for anything

All this winter, the television news has carried stories about the storms hitting from the Northwest to the West and Midwest. The accompanying pictures and video show car wreck after car wreck.

Traffic accidents have become the emblem of winter hazards. We have grown so accustomed to speed that many of us only reduce it when we hit something.

When I look at the crumpled sheet metal, shattered glass and wheels pointed at the sky I wonder what it was like more than a century ago. Would there be news stories like this:

"A hard-hitting winter storm has brought treacherous travel conditions to the region. A four-sleigh pileup on Smithville Road sent two drivers to the hospital. One horse had to be shot."

Granted, a lot of the storms in recent years have hit areas where drivers can reasonably expect to avoid snow, but this year has seen plenty of them come across mountainous areas or parts of the country where snow really isn't all that rare. Even New England has finally been blessed with a frozen coating. And, right on cue, people are smashing themselves up like they'd never seen a flake or a frozen droplet.

Sliding the car around is fun, I admit. But there's a time and a place for that. If you're doing it on purpose, have a little restraint. And if you did it on purpose and ended up wrapped around a tree, you stink! Go practice in a parking lot. An empty parking lot, by the way.

Have fun out there. Play nice.

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