Happy Tuesday, everybody! This week on Matt’s Rants, I want to address winter driving conditions. I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. So I know that driving during the winter season requires some extra attention. I’ve been operating vehicles for over 20 years and realize when snow and ice are covering the roads, they might be a bit slippery. However, there must be a ton of Wisconsin residents that either forget or don’t care that slick roads can lead to devastating results in a hurry. If you happen to take a short drive on Highway 41 just after the first snow, you’ll usually discover several cars in the ditch. I know the salesman promises excellent handling when selling people “winter” tires, but it seems like common sense has gone out the window.
Recently, I took my Goddaughter to a UWGB basketball game. She prefers going to watch the girls play because she’s a girl. That’s how she explained it to me. The forecast had been calling for snow all week. The local weathermen had already called for several massive storms up to that point, so I paid very little attention to the amount of snow we were about to receive during this basketball game.
The snow was starting as we drove towards the UWGB grounds. I was explaining to my Goddaughter how I had gotten lost with my friends on this campus years ago after attending a summer festival on the campus. The game was being held at the Kress Center. The UWGB campus is not what I would call well lit. In fact, its pitch black out there. So as I was explaining to my young passenger that she just had to pay attention to where we parked, I missed it altogether. I could’ve easily blamed the snow or lack of a few street lights, but I’m starting to think this place has to be cursed. For me, anyway.
I was able to find the Kress Center right as the game was starting. The snow was coming down reasonably good by this point. We were both so excited about the game, so I didn’t think much about it. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they weren’t charging for admission. It was a tough game, the Lady Phoenix lost. They showed a lot of heart and battled hard.
We parked near the Kress Center, and my Goddaughter was paying extra close attention to where we parked, so finding the car was no issue. I was surprised to see what looked to be at least 4 inches of snow on the ground. It didn’t take long to clear the car, and we were on our way in no time. This was at roughly 9:30 pm. My Goddaughter lives a bit north of Green Bay in a town called Abrams. By the time I reached her house, I felt spoiled to be a resident of the city.
Most of the drive was on the highway, so I figured the roads would be reasonably clear. I really gotta stop thinking things in my head before the fact because the plows were not out on this night. The snow was falling fast. The traffic was going slow, which is to be expected, but it just drives me nuts when I’m staring at brake lights on top of going slow. I mean, don’t people realize that going slow eliminates the need for them to ride their brakes. This kind of thing triggers my anger, and I can only put up with it for so long.
I hate passing people during a snowstorm, but after 10 minutes of watching the guy in front of me riding his brakes as he was going slow, I took a chance. Passing him was no big deal. I could see a truck coming pretty fast, so I got back into the slower lane as soon as I could. I’m glad I did. This truck came flying past. Not only was this truck traveling way to fast for road conditions, but it was also pulling a trailer. And it had to be one of those giant ones that’s wider than the enormous pickup truck that was pulling it. There should be some law or regulation putting restrictions on some of these trailers. Especially while it’s snowing! I swear that the trailer came less than an inch from hitting my car. Its as if these drivers forget they’re towing something broader than the lane. And look out if you get stuck in a roundabout with or near one of these sheer geniuses.
So, after this guy blows past me, I find myself stuck behind another brake rider. 15 minutes of complete frustration led me to try and pass again. I was passing this car I nearly lost control of mine. I must’ve hit the gas too hard at the wrong time. I almost spun out. Then I noticed a pickup truck and a large trailer in the ditch. I can’t even feel sorry for someone that was being so stupid behind the wheel. I hope nobody was injured.
I didn’t even try passing anybody else. It was usually a 20-minute drive but lasted roughly an hour and a half on this night. The closer I got to my Goddaughter’s house, the worse the roads became. I was glad when I got to her house because she was safe. We were safe. However, I didn’t even consider spending the night. I dropped her off as quickly as possible and was back on the unplowed roads in no time. The ride home was about the same. A nerve-racking mess. And the roads were actually somewhat plowed as I got closer to Green Bay. I made it home safe.
So, this rant is directed at anybody who lives in an area with winter conditions. Pay attention to the road conditions before getting behind the wheel. Always assume the roads will be slick, all winter long and especially while it’s snowing. Slow down and don’t ride the person’s ass in front of you for going slow. If you back the fuck up, you won’t need to ride your brakes. Driving in normal conditions is aggravating enough. Stop mixing stupidity with winter conditions. That is all. Did I mention that you need to slow the fuck down while driving in the snow?