Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Driving on Ice

Nature has a way of thinning out the herd. You can see it everywhere. For example, this morning I had to drive over to Atlanta for a 10 a.m. meeting. It rained into the night last night and then turned off cold. That usually means one thing --- ICE. Most thinking people who drive know that ice usually forms on bridges and overpasses whenever this situation occurs. Even if you’ve never actually experienced it, the news media says it incessantly “BEWARE OF ICE FORMING ON BRIDGES AND OVERPASSES.”
So this morning I got up really early and headed to Atlanta and the first bridge I encounter is on I-65. I slow down to about 40 mph and ease cross the bridge no problem. At that time I’m the only vehicle in sight. Closer to Birmingham, the traffic gets a little more congested and when I approached the bridge in Gardendale, I slowed down even more. But those from the shallow end of the gene pool apparently believe that the only way to tackle ice is at a high rate of speed. As I start onto the bridge, there is an auto ballet that took place before me. I was in the middle lane doing fine, but the cars on either side that made the unfortunate decision to utilize the speed method, both hit the concrete guard rails and came to a stop near the end of the bridge. A young girl in a new BMW, who had taken a dim view of my slow approach to the ice, whipped out into the other lane and blew by me just as the ballet was ending. Apparently she thought that BMW’s transverse ice better than other vehicles. When she touched her brakes (mistake #2) the beamer started act three of the ballet. She spun around three times but somehow missed the cars that had wrecked moments earlier. I’m betting that she had to clean out her pants and the leather seats of the beamer.
That was just the first wreck I saw. I sat on the interstate for two hours before another multi car pile-up was removed. I’ve heard Southerners remark “well people from up North can drive on ice because they get bad weather all the time.” One of my buddies from Michigan heard one such remark while visiting us last summer and he said “I beg to differ, but no one can drive on ice unless you’re driving a tank with tracks instead of tires.”
I really hope no one was hurt this morning but I also hope some folks learned their lesson. If I was a betting man, I would bet you that the next time we get ice on the roads we will have a bunch of wrecks…..but I bet no one will have to tell the girl in the red beamer to slow down when there’s ice on the road.

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