Essay: Winter driving leaves me crying


I have one rule whenever I am required to drive in adverse weather. I decide not to. No matter where I need to be, it simply isn’t worth it.

Over the years I’ve missed funerals, weddings, work, work functions, picking up my kids from day care, picking up my kids from school, picking up my kids from play dates, picking up my wife from the airport, basketball practices in which I’m coaching and a haircut at a trendy new place for guys with receding hairlines.

The reason is because I am a terrible driver whenever my car traverses anything other than dry pavement.

It’s not my fault my parents decided to settle down and start a family in the D.C. area. It’s theirs. They could’ve started a family anywhere. Buffalo, Boston or Montreal all would’ve been suitable.

But here in the D.C. suburbs, we get just enough snow for us to stink at driving in it.

The problem with living in a transient area is that you get people from cold weather places who stand up and shout, “I’m from Buffalo! I can drive in anything.” That’s great, pal.

Not everyone here is from Buffalo, though, which means you will be driving your car in snow and ice next to other cars driven by people from Georgia, Alabama, Algeria and Colombia. So yeah, good luck with that. And also, my football team beat your football team in the Super Bowl.

I like my car to be responsive. When I place my foot on the brake and push down, it’s nice when the car stops. This often does not happen in snow, and definitely not on ice.

Indifferent brakes are the worst kind of brakes. I’ve witnessed a lot of sad things in my life, but there is nothing quite as sad as attempting to slow down your car only to see the stopped car in front of you getting closer. And then, boom.

I’ve avoided driving in bad weather since 1999. I was at work one winter day during a snowstorm that over-performed, by a rather significant margin. I saw the main thoroughfare transition into a covered parking lot over the course of the afternoon. That evening, I fishtailed like an extroverted flounder at the aquarium. I slipped and slid over the course of the next 90 minutes, covering a whopping 3.2 miles. It was an experience I vowed never to have again.

Many people over the years have asked me how in the world I am able to avoid having to drive in adverse weather. The answer is complicated.

If you haven’t gotten past the second grade, I would advise you to stop reading at this point. What lies beyond this is a very complicated approach to avoidance. You’ve been warned.

Okay, if you are reading this, I would like to welcome you brave and curious souls to my virtual secret lair of winter-weather driving avoidance. If you follow what I have outlined below, we can eliminate the scourge of driving in bad weather forever! I advise you to sit down for this.

My secret is listening to the forecast, presumably a reliable one, and then, whenever it is forecast to snow, don’t drive. I apologize if I have blown your minds with the knowledge I’ve just dropped.

“Wow, Josh (a.k.a. The Author of Sarcasm), aren’t you worried people will think you are a wimp?” ask the machismo men of our society? Yeah, no.

Ego is an interesting thing. Apparently I was born without one. I was also born without the ability to feel shame or to learn how to actually turn a car in the direction I’m spinning out while driving in adverse weather. Seriously, who even thinks to do that in a split second?

So, until someone smarter than me designs heated roads or converts every road into a tunnel, I will shelter in place until the storm has passed, the road crews have come through, and the first crocus bloom indicating spring’s arrival. Safety first, everyone.

By the way, can I get a ride to basketball practice Saturday morning?

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