The winter rant

January 13, 2014

blog_judy_coolsMoonlighting. A blog by Judy Cools.

Readers who know me well must be wondering why I haven’t written my annual winter rant.  Well, here it is.  It’s still early in this winter season, and we’ve been immersed in a mix of all the elements.  Most recently that means snow….. and cold…..and wind.  It’s a formidable combination, I’ll admit, but it is no excuse for stupidity.

I sat at one of the most dangerous intersections in the county the other day (US-10 and Jebavy Drive), watching the other drivers complete their left turns.  One after the next the cars came through with snow-covered windows, and not even one of them had the snow cleaned from the headlights.

Don’t even start with me about it being too cold outside, or that you didn’t wear boots.  You are in Michigan, people, accept it and quit acting stupid.  You wouldn’t drive around with a quilt over your car windows, how can you justify it being OK for snow to block your view?

A small amount of effort is all it takes.  Dress appropriately for the weather – cold, snow or whatever.  Wear gloves.  Use a hat, hood, or scarf.  Get inside, and start your car.  While it warms up, take the snow brush (which lives 12 months a year in every vehicle in the State of Michigan) and clean the windows.  All of the windows.  Not just the windshield, and not a little patch in one side window.  All the windows, all the way.  If there’s ice, scrape it.  Get the windows clear.

Take a break if you have to.  Turn your back to the wind if you need to.  Call people and tell them you’ll be late.  Or just don’t go.  There is no excuse that’s good enough for taking preventable risks.  If you can’t drive responsibly, you shouldn’t go out.  Maybe you shouldn’t even be allowed to drive.

Now walk around the vehicle and brush snow from the side mirrors so you can see around you when you’re driving.  Clear the headlight area so you can see where you’re going and so others can see you.  Tail lights and turn signals are really important.  Remember that many people drive too fast, too close, too crazy on bad roads.  Some have bad tires.  Some have not cleaned their windows and can’t see you.  Grab every advantage for yourself and for your passengers.  Be responsible.

Trust me, the few minutes it takes to clear your car windows is small potatoes compared to freezing along the roadside while the officer writes his report or the EMTs strap you to a backboard. A few minutes of scraping beats weeks in a cast, months in a hospital bed, or forever in the ground.

So maybe you don’t care.  “It’ll never happen to me.”  Well, if you don’t care enough about yourself to act responsibly, what about your kids or grandkids?  It isn’t only about their safety when they are with you.  You have to realize that you are setting standards for what they will accept when they get behind the wheel of a car.  Remember your parents, your friends.  Do you love any of them enough to brush off a little snow?

Imagine living the rest of your life knowing that you killed or injured someone in a traffic accident because you didn’t bother to clean your car off properly.  Nevermind the immediate trauma for yourself and the other family.  There would be a lawsuit that would drag on for years.  You’d have to live the horror over and over again.  You may or may not lose the right to drive.  You may or may not be able to get insurance, even if you were allowed to drive.  (Well I guess you could probably find insurance somewhere….   I wouldn’t want to have to pay the premiums, though.)

Really, people.  This is a big thing in terms of safety and common sense.  It’s a small thing in terms of inconvenience.  You’re here in snow country, it’s just what we do.


© 2014, J. Cools


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