We had a full blown snowstorm up here in New England today, the last full day of winter. To watch some of the folks out driving during the storm you would have thought they'd never driven in snow before. I wasn't more than quarter mile from The Manse when I had my first run in with a clueless driver.
One of my putative neighbors backed his Prius out of his driveway, stopped, turned his wheel and tried to go forward...and got nowhere. First, he was in six inches of snow. Second, he was trying to go up hill. Third, he had the stock 'all season' tires on his car. Fourth, he tended to be a bit heavy on the accelerator pedal, meaning he spun his tires as he tried to accelerate as if he were on dry pavement.
I didn't mind the fact that he was clueless about driving his car in snow or that he should have had real snow tires rather than the all season baloney skins. What I did mind was that his car was blocking the road, leaving no space to get around him.
Realizing he wasn't going to be going anywhere any time soon, I put the trusty F150 into reverse and carefully backed down the road, figuring I would use one of the cross streets to get out to the main road. Unfortunately my neighbor noticed what I was doing and apparently decided he would do likewise, cutting his wheel, putting his car in reverse, and starting down the hill towards me. The problem?
He was backing down the hill at a much higher speed than was prudent even during good conditions.
When I saw he was moving down the hill very quickly I realized there was no way he was going to be able to stop in time without backing into the trusty F150. A quick shift into drive and a hard turn to the right got me into the side street just as he sailed by with all four wheels locked up, missing the rear of the F150 by mere inches.
I wish I could say that I did the neighborly thing – stopping and helping him out of his predicament – but I have to admit to feeling peeved that he would do something so stupid and so dangerous, so I left him to his own devices. (I also have to admit that I know the fellow. He is one of the most disagreeable, opinionated, and arrogant flatlanders I have ever come across, so I felt little guilt at letting him get himself out of trouble.)
It all went down hill from there. (No pun intended.)
To me it appeared everyone was in one hell of a hurry to get wherever it was they were trying to go. The roads were very slick, traction was minimal, yet folks were driving at the speed limit as if the roads were dry. I witnessed more than a few vehicles lose traction, fishtail as the drivers brought them back under control, and then accelerate away as if nothing had happened.
One fellow was tailgating me on the local bypass, his truck swaying back and forth as he lost and regained traction. He darn near rear-ended me when I took my exit off the bypass because he decided it was a perfectly good time to pull out his cell and make a call. He didn't notice me slowing down to take the off-ramp until the last second, swerved to go around me, and did a 360º spin right there in the middle of the bypass. He was lucky there wasn't traffic in the oncoming lane at the time or it could have ruined his whole day.
Some of my co-workers reported the same kind of insanity, with one telling me she had someone pass her on the bypass, fishtailing as he/she passed her and almost forcing her off the road.
What the hell is wrong with these people?