By Al Vinikour
It never ceases to amaze me how many people will leave their cars parked outside overnight, walk out the front door, start up the engine…and go. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… UNLESS IT’S WINTER AND THE CAR IS COVERED WITH ICE AND SNOW!!!
Defrosters are not at full power by the time a vehicle reaches the end of a driveway. Sometimes it takes 5-10 minutes to become fully active. Meantime, the driver may have scraped a spot the size of a silver dollar so he can see something outside the windshield, and maybe even lowered and raised the door glass in the hopes the snow and/or ice would create an area to see if there’s any oncoming traffic.
You people in warmer climates may think you’re not subject to this kind of endangerment. Guess again, Rollo. The same theory applies to morning dew and heavy fog. Remember… if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
I have wondered what would possess a driver to put his life, and those of his passengers at risk by operating a vehicle with extremely-limited visibility and the best reasons I can come up with are laziness, stupidity and uber-stupidity. I don’t care if you live alone in the backwoods and have a two-mile long driveway before you reach the main road. You never know when a rogue panda or a Godzilla-like creature is liable to come out of the woods and because you think you can find your way to the highway blindfolded you never expected this hazard. The next sound you hear could be the notes coming from Gabriel’s horn.
If you’re so dead set against scraping your windows in the morning because ice has formed on them either send your lazy-assed kid out there to do it or remove your still or whatever else is blocking use of your garage until Spring. Or invest in a good, sturdy snow scraper. There are some that are so good they could completely de-ice Santa’s sleigh on December 24. Or carefully observe your neighbors. Surely there’s something going on at some time that would give you some good blackmail ammunition. In that case you’d never have to scrape windows yourself again.
As in the case of the aforementioned panda, I don’t care if you want to run over a flock of puffins and the amount of blood causes your vehicle to overturn, tossing you out of the car. As you’re bleeding out, a pack of wolves stop by to see what the commotion was and as a result you wind up treating them to a meal, as it were. That’s fine with me because the only one endangered is yourself.
However, I don’t want this same crap pulled as you T-bone a school bus you didn’t see because you’re windows are so iced over. God help you if my grandkids are on that bus and are harmed because of your slothfulness. I’d cut off your head and use your teeth to scrape the ice off your windshield. If it would take you five or more minutes to get your windows clean enough to see out of your car on all sides… get your ass out of bed five or more minutes earlier and do the right thing! If you’re arms are sore for whatever reason, go outside and let your car run for 10 minutes with the defrosters on high. Lock it up — you have other sets of keys. Go inside and have another cup of coffee or a Bloody Mary or whatever else you start your day with. Just because Charles Lindbergh couldn’t see in front of The Spirit of St. Louis doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. At 500 ft Lindy isn’t going to hit a school bus or a car-pooling station wagon loaded with kids. He may run into a flock of blue birds… but it won’t be a Bluebird Bus.
Anybody who causes harm to another because he was too lazy to practice safety should be hog-tied and placed at the mouth of a cave inhabited by a hibernating Mama Grizzly. Once that’s done he should be soaked in honey and a digital recording of The Best of the Sex Pistols should be played at 150 decibels until the pissed-off bear awakens to see what the racket is.
There’s a scene in the great move Scent of a Woman where Al Pacino, a blind retired Army Lt. Colonel is driving a Ferrari at 70 mph in the backstreets of New York. The only way he knows where to go is to ask the passenger what he should do next. That’s not real life, Jocko… it’s a MOVIE! He’s not blind in real life! Besides, you’re not Al Pacino by any stretch of the imagination. If you don’t care about your own safety don’t take innocent victims with you.
Airliners often fly blind… but they have air traffic control to guide them. If you’re visibility is hindered because of fogged or icy windows the only thing guiding you is your own stupidity.