Friday, January 19, 2007


We didn't get that inch of snow after all. What we got instead was about a quarter inch of ice. As they say, when God gives, he tears away the roof and gives in bucketfuls (and God doesn't scrimp on bucket size). But today was not that day of roof-tearing and bucketful-giving. And it was lucky that today wasn't that day because even with the meager amount of ice God gave us, it was a fucking mess.

The commute to work was littered with the broken corpses of cars and trucks who were suffering the consequences of having made passionate love to each other's bumpers and mufflers. Especially on the ramps and bridges which, supposedly, are the first to ice over. Funnily enough, most of these accidents involved SUVs, you know, the kind that are supposed to be immune to snow and are able to drive through forests and cross rivers and climb mountains, or, if you're a Toyota truck, withstand attacks by the Loch Ness monster. The thing is, most SUV and truck owners believe that their all-wheel drive allows them to speed at will through rain and snow without crashing and sliding. But that's like an NBA player believing that he can safely walk on red hot coals. Sure, he's big and strong and can dunk a fantastic basket but that doesn't make the soles of his feet invulnerable to heat. Similarly, all-wheel drive holds absolutely no value when the time comes to brake the vehicle. If anything, the extra weight of the SUV makes it more of an uncontrollable missile than anything else on the road.

Still, it is quite hilarious to watch these SUVs nestling in the ditch as you drive past. Most SUV drivers have this incredulous, disbelieving expression on their face and you can actually hear the progression of their thoughts.

"Hello, where am I?"
"I'm still on the road right?"
"Where are all the other cars?"
"Am I in a ditch?"
"No way, I'm pretty sure I'm on the road."
"Why am I not moving?"
"Could I actually have...crashed? Is it possible?
"No, I'm still driving. I own an SUV."
"If I'm driving, why am I still in the same place?"

And then, gradually, comes the horrible realization.

"Hmm. looks like I crashed after all. Damn it, PennDot, what will it take you to salt the fucking roads?

That is when I wave at them and give them a thumbs up sign but sadly, it's not my thumb. Like they say, it's unacceptable to kick a man when he's down, except when he's an SUV owner.


Anonymous said...

Ice is bad....see this:

RobRoy said...

One foggy day in Southern California I actually heard a man exclaim that with anti-lock brake technology there shouldn't be any accidents on the freeway anymore.

Anti-lock brakes simply keep your car's wheels from locking and skidding you out of control. They don't stop you any faster or levitate the vehicle in front of you to crash-free distance.

CAR said...

The problem with 4wd drive is that its much too good for the average driver. The traction is so much better that you end up going faster in a SUV but as your rightly mentioned braking depends a lot on the car's weight.

However I must disagree with robroy in that ABS does make a car stop in a smaller distance which means faster. It wont avoid accidents but a lot worse can happen if you lock wheels.

We must be careful in dismissing technolgy as a bad thing. I test these cars for a living and know that ESP does makes things better. But no one can dare to defy the laws of physics except perhaps the human mind.

Kimberly El-Sadek said...

Didn't get the ice you did here in NJ, but then I didn't venture out until around noon because I am a lazy grad student and by that time it was just slush and every vehicle was coated with de-icing grime. Call me a bit crazy but I am looking forward to an actual snowfall having never lived in a place where it snowed more than just a trace.

Anonymous said...

You are a mean, mean man, Gawker. It's my first winter with an SUV...i hope there aren't crazies like you wandering the streets of Cincinnati.

Anonymous said...

Gawker, the post is amusing. You have restored my faith in your sense of humour. :-)

Veena said...

You go Gawker! Please to be mean to double the number of SUV owners to make up for my absence in the country. Thanks.