In Minnesota where I live, it would be a surprise if any blogger didn’t have at least a couple of entries about the snow and cold. So far, this is my second blog post on the topic; I published “Cold” last wintery season—although, this is April, and it is not supposed to be the wintery season now at all. Oh, well, that is why we lovingly—or not so lovingly—call our state, “Minnesnowta.”
We had a big snow storm this weekend, and what shocked me most was that there were proms being cancelled at some of the local high schools. Proms! In winter? Well, no, it’s spring. The special event was put off for the next day, when the school parking lot could be fully plowed; in other words, the girls in their sleeveless gowns and the boys in their tuxes will still get to enjoy the dance, just with parkas and boots in tow. The concern that the weather would drive prom-goers into a ditch should not override the normal fears that kids will drive into ditches all on their own, even in good weather. Attention for the vulnerable is a very important thing to build into any system, so, postponing something that involves exposing high-school-aged drivers to dangerous road conditions seems like a no-brainer.
Lots of things were canceled, such as church services and concerts, sporting events and conferences. In general, we Minnesotans are pretty hardy and only recently do I recall that organizers and administrators have canceled events and church services because of the cold or snowy weather. It’s the desire to protect people from harm that has prompted the closures and that impulse should be lauded. Nowadays, it seems, people err on the side of caution, whereas, in the past, they did not. We shouldn’t be driven by fear, either, so this is always going to be a judgment call made presumably by those who weigh all the options and then make a careful decision about whether to cancel or to continue.
Not everything can be canceled, however, since people do have jobs that must be driven to, no matter what the weather conditions. By adding extra driving time and decreasing driving speeds, you can increase your safety level in bad weather and the state of safety for the other drivers on the highway. I saw many cars in the ditch this weekend and most of these were there because the drivers were not using the caution that the weather deserved.
However, not all accidents can be prevented by careful driving and decreased speed. For example, whenever the driver is required to “guess” where the exit ramp is located, because he or she can’t see it, that has become a very dangerous situation for everyone. Staying home when the conditions are dangerous is a best option, especially when the authorities are asking you to refrain from driving.
There is no question that having less cars on the road will give the plows more space for clearing off the snow and ice.
Don’t drive if you don’t need to when there is a bad weather event. If you do drive, please do it with as much caution and as little overconfidence as you can manage. Be careful and cautious and attentive. Don’t speed. Don’t drink and drive. This is completely non-controversial, although people ignore this advise all the time, but to their peril—and ours.
Kindness works out practically in all the little things done everyday, which definitely includes the way that we drive.