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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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First things first, yes, it snowed here. When I got up, I brushed about three inches off the cars. An hour later I brushed another two inches off the cars. No, despite frequent plow traffic, none of the roads, main or otherwise, were clear to the pavement. So we’ve got our background covered; now I can start one of many of my annual winter rants.

If you are one of the morons who thought to yourself “Hey, an SUV is cool and holds lots of stuff, like my enormous ego,” but at the same time you were too cheap to opt for full-time all-wheel drive or at least part-time four-wheel drive, and you still deem it necessary to drive your vehicle on a day like this, please, do the rest of humanity a favor, and kill yourself. Let’s explain the problem. You now have a vehicle with a high center of gravity, a lot of surface area that you won’t clean of snow (more on this later), big wide tires (well, because the rim upgrades looked nice), and a lot of weight not pushing on your driven wheels. Yes, that’s right, you’re driving a truck. What trucks do is they put weight in their beds, and wear tires that do well in winter. People who drive trucks aren’t necessarily more smart than you, they just aren’t so stupid as to be blind to what sort of vehicle they are driving. Your cheap-shit no-option zomg-I’m-cool Ford Explorer or Escape is not suitable for winter transit as equipped. Stay home.

Even worse, if you have a vehicle that does have a clutch-engaged four-wheel drive system, this would be a good time to re-read that little booklet in your glove box that tells you how to engage it. There is no excuse for you being on the road with only your rear wheels driven when you could be driving all four. This is what your vehicle was made to be a little better at, and if you deprive your vehicle of this ability, you are merely exposing how much of a moron you are, and you are endangering yourself and those around you. Please return to the ‘kill yourself’ portion of the previous paragraph. Pick your favorite method. Darwin will be proud, and you’ll hurt a lot fewer people.

Next, if you just had to have that Mustang GT with some Z-rated fat stubby tires great for drag racing and showing off, and you suddenly find yourself in a situation like today’s snow without another vehicle, let me remind you, you are driving the equivalent of a sled. It’s great for uncontrollable descents down steep slopes at high speeds, but your huge amount of surface area, no tread separation, and no tread depth means that there are mechanical reasons why your vehicle will not stop, start, or drive in a straight line, in conditions like this. I saw a Mustang GT on the main drag through Norwalk, with his blinkers on, never moving faster than 1-2 mph. After observing this for several minutes, the driver just got out of his vehicle, still in the middle of the road, yelled something in frustration, and just walked away from his vehicle.

Please feel free to equip your vehicle with small rims, winter tires, engage your traction control, and try again, if you have enough driving skill to be out in this weather. Of course, you bought a Mustang, so the chances of you recognizing your lack of driving skill or need for different winter equipment is slight. Notice how the yuppies in their German vehicles are still able to drive today. This is because the Germans appreciate that loading a vehicle up with massive snowshoes, horrible weight characteristics, and more engine than your talent warrants is a dangerous idea. Yuppies aren’t better drivers, but they buy better vehicles for the conditions out here. For now, trade in your Mustang, and buy a Civic. It’s a better vehicle for you.

Finally, a reminder to those of you who, like myself, do not have covered parking. It is important to remember the one thing that needs to have all of its snow removed — your entire car. Just dusting the snow off your windshield is not sufficient for winter transit. If you think this is sufficient, please return to the second paragraph, remove the revolver from your bedside table, and eliminate yourself from the gene pool. When you go out in the winter, you need to remove the vast majority of the snow on your vehicle. If you leave snow on your headlights, your headlights serve no purpose. If you leave snow on your hood, it blows back while driving on your windshield, and makes a cloud behind you. If you leave snow on your roof, it makes a cloud behind you. If you leave snow on your trunk, it leaves a cloud behind you. If you don’t clean your wheel wells, all sorts of stupid stuff can happen. If you don’t remove the snow from your rear window, you’re not going to see what’s happening behind you. If you don’t clean off your side windows, you have no peripheral vision. If you don’t clean off your brake lights, nobody can see you. If your argument is anything like “but I don’t have enough time to clean off my car!” I don’t give a fuck. Get up ten minutes earlier. The safety of yourself and those around you is far more important than you getting to work on time.

As long as we’re on that topic, you may want to start your car and let it run up a little before going out for your regularly scheduled morning disaster. Being on the road while your windows are fogged, your engine is more likely to stall, or before your defroster yet lacks the output to remove ice forming on your windows is a very dangerous thing.

In general, if you aren’t sure if you are safe to be driving on the roads, just stay home. The lives of your fellow Americans are far more important than your employment.