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Clark: Snow unearthed more than 1 maroon, if you catch my drift

Thu., Jan. 19, 2012

It’s been a long time since we’ve had any actual huffing-puffing blizzards like the storms that dumped on us this week.

And a lot of you Spokane drivers have apparently lost your snow-navigating skills.

I’m telling you, it was four-wheeled insanity out on the South Hill streets Wednesday.

Slipping and sliding. Tires a-spinning. Car windows crusting over with ice …

And that was just me behind the wheel of “Big Maroon,” the snow car I bought a couple years ago.

My lovely wife, Sherry, thinks I need another old heap like Republicans need another presidential debate.

Not true. Big Maroon – a 1990 Lincoln Town Car – was a steal because it cost only 500 bucks and came with a brand new set of Blizzak snow tires.

Man, those Blizzaks could take you across Antarctica.

If Big Maroon didn’t drip so much oil, that is.

Thing is, I didn’t plan on doing any driving Wednesday. The storm was blowing so nasty that I decided to stay inside by the fire.

Then my sweet Mom called to say she was out of some of the pills she needs.

So, like a good son, I tugged on my Sorel boots and took Big Maroon on a pharmaceutical run.

The frantic scene I witnessed on the roads inspired me to create Doug’s Snow Job Quiz, a multiple-choice exam designed to test your winter driving knowledge.

So please answer the following questions honestly. We’ll evaluate your scores at the bottom.

1. The term “snowbird” refers to …

a. Those chicken-hearts who spend their winters in Arizona – 1 igloo.

b. The annual influx of eagles at Lake Coeur d’Alene – 3 igloos.

c. That middle-fingered salute you wag at idiots who can’t drive in snow – 5 igloos.

2. Becoming a Spokane snowplow operator requires …

a. Years of professional driving experience – 1 igloo.

b. The willingness to work all hours under extreme conditions – 3 igloos.

c. A sadistic desire to turn every driveway entrance into an impassable avalanche – 5 igloos.

3. The bigger the snowstorm …

a. The larger the shapeless mass on the TV weather radar – 1 igloo.

b. The easier the forecast – 3 igloos.

c. The more a TV weathercaster will act like a gibbering fool – 5 igloos.

4. The best implement for removing snow from a windshield is …

a. A scraper specifically designed for the task – 1 igloo.

b. A debit card or used McDonald’s sack – 3 igloos.

c. Hit the “defrost” button. The faster you get going the faster things’ll melt – 5 igloos.

5. A good rule of thumb for snowy driving is to …

a. Allow an extra 15 minutes to get wherever you’re going – 1 igloo.

b. Stay an extra car length behind the driver in front of you – 3 igloos.

c. Reduce your speed 5 mph and text your friends about why you’re going to be so late – 5 igloos.

6. Every car should have a winter survival kit containing …

a. A snow shovel – 1 igloo.

b. Some food and a blanket – 3 igloos.

c. One large empty coffee can – 5 igloos.

7. When driving in a snowstorm, stay tuned to local radio for …

a. Winter weather advisories – 1 igloo.

b. Street and school closures – 3 igloos.

c. Additional hot air from blowhard Mike Fitzsimmons – 5 igloos.

8. A winter driver’s best friend is his …

a. Quality snow tires – 1 igloo.

b. Wipers that work – 3 igloos.

c. Paid-up AAA membership – 5 igloos.

9. The best advice for winter driving is still …

a. Only drive if you must – 1 igloo.

b. Never drive faster than conditions allow – 3 igloos.

c. Park your car and wait until spring – 5 igloos.

10. If your car suddenly loses control, you should …

a. Steer into the slide – 1 igloo.

b. Tap your brakes lightly – 3 igloos.

c. Scream “Holy %$^#!!” and reach for the coffee can – 5 igloos.

A score of 10-25 igloos indicates you’re one of those overconfident know-it-alls the rest of us would like to push off a cliff.

Scoring 30 to 40 igloos suggests that if you’re not on Prozac, you should probably look into it.

If you scored a perfect 50 igloos, congratulations! You are definitely a Spokane-area driver.

Blink your lights and honk if you see Big Maroon coming.

That should give me enough time to flip you the snowbird and swerve out of your way.

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