October 3, 2008 in Features

The Slice: Winter rules never change; so what gives?

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The first taste of wintry driving could be weeks away.

But it’s October, so you never know. It could happen sooner rather than later.

The one certainty is that motorists will drive way too fast for the conditions. And local law enforcement officials will once again plead with area residents to slow down when there’s ice or snow on Inland Northwest roadways.

Why the unimpressive learning curve on this?

Are we just stupid or what?

The Slice wants to know. So the column interviewed The Spokane Driver.

Here is a transcript of that exchange.

Q: So, Spokane Driver, what’s with the failure to ease back on the accelerator the first time the streets get slick? Are you a moron?

A: No, that’s not it. You know, the thing is, I just forget about winter. So let me get this straight. We have one every fourth year?

Q: Right. Why doesn’t seeing the snow and ice trigger something in your brain?

A: My what? Look, let me tell you. Spring through fall, I get used to my rig being able to handle pretty much anything. And the first time the roads are like a skating rink, well, I forget that my usual driving tactic doesn’t always work.

Q: What’s your usual driving tactic?

A: Go fast. Then go faster.

Q: But why doesn’t it occur to you that winter driving means longer braking distances?

A: I think the Zags are going to surprise a few people this year.

Q: Are you familiar with the role friction plays in driving?

A: That’s what leads to road rage, right? Yeah, that’s bad news.

Q: Let me ask you something else, Spokane Driver. When you are stuck on an icy patch and your wheels are spinning like mad, why do you give it even more gas?

A: Because I want to go, go, go. Plus that sound the tires make demonstrates that I’m on top of the situation. What a silly question.

Q: Though it’s a statistical impossibility, there are those who want us to believe that the idiot drivers are all recent transplants from California. Where are you from?

A: Near nature.

Q: What about studs?

A: You’re looking at one, pal. Look, just because I drive a 40-ton truck doesn’t mean there’s anything inadequate about me. Nosireeee.

Q: OK. Well, is there any chance you’ll be a little smarter about driving on slick roads this year?

A: Look, Hoss, in Spokane there’s only one way to find out if the roads are bad: Floor it. Drive as fast as you can until you start to hurtle out of control. Then you know. It’s not rocket science.

•Today’s Slice question: What’s the secret to successful potty training?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@spokesman.com. Lynn Walker was surprised to discover that some people don’t recognize “Pill Hill” as a description of the lower South Hill medical facilities.


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