Let’s talk about winter driving….

Written by Jesse Wilkinson


It was a few years ago that I drove up to Montreal for the Osheaga Music Festival; before making the trip, I remember warning my travel mate that while I liked most people I encountered as a pedestrian, once they stepped into a car, I loathed them.  That poor person drove the whole 7 hours with me thinking I meant my fellow passengers.  I forgot to clarify that I meant all the other drivers on the road, not the ones in my passenger seat – I like them just fine.

And I think I am justified in this disdain for other drivers – and it hasn’t changed; in fact, it has gotten much, much worse.

I am not going to spend any time in this post ranting about the weather we’ve been having here in Southwestern Ontario – no, I feel that is akin to blaming a bedpost when I stub my toe…mind you, I still do that because it makes me feel better, but obviously not very logical.  I am going to take issue with the way some people react to the weather.

The obvious exception to my rant are those who did not grow up in Ontario, or even Canada, for that matter.  These people may not have grown  up driving in the snow, so I can understand it makes them nervous and they are just getting used to it.  But for many life-long Canadians I have been sharing the road with this past while – what in the Sweet Baby James going on?

Why have so many people suddenly decided that they can’t drive over 40 km/hr anymore?  I mean, I completely understand when the snow is coming down like a mad storm of white bedsheets (feast on that poetic device!), but when the snow has stopped and the roads have been plowed and we’re driving to work a few minutes behind schedule because we all took a little too long getting ready this morning and someone is driving 30 or even 40 kms below the speed limit, it makes me completely understand why people road rage to the extreme!  When I see clips of people completely losing it on the highway, I say ‘of course’ and even envy them a little.  I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.  I, of course, am able to keep my anger to mere swear word here and there and fist shaking in the air, but I’m not surprised that some people can’t keep it together.

Take a look at the picture above and realize how powerless and frustrating it feels to be me (the last car in a line of slow drivers that I can’t even pass because it would take forever to try speeding to the front of that massive line).

So I propose that we finally just decide to change the speed limits on our two-lane highways to 40 km/hr.  At least then we can all feel like we’re going the correct speed.  Then we won’t stress that we are losing a half hour every day by not going the speed we’re supposed to be going.  Or maybe we should pass a law forcing those who do not at least go the speed limit to have to pull over to let those by who need to get somewhere.  Or here’s another idea – how about those who drive slow in front of me have to pay for all the wiper fluid I’m using clearing the crap that your car is kicking up because I’m right on your ass reminding you that 46 kms/hr in an 80 on a sunny day is not acceptable just because there’s a little snow on the road that the plow did not completely clear away!!  Deal with it – it’s winter in Ontario and we still need to get places on time!

And while I’m at it (this is starting to feel really good to get this off my chest), what is with people putting their brakes on while going down a hill?

And then there’s the whole turning out in front of me when I’m doing a normal speed with no regard for distance, so I have to put on my brakes to avoid smashing into them from behind.

Oh, and of course there’s the wonderful move where someone drives slowly in the fast lane right beside someone driving slow in the slow lane so their is no lane that I can drive an appropriate speed.  (the left lane is for PASSING!!)

Ok, this is the last one, I promise!  If one more person creeps up onto my bumper while I’m stopped on a hill for a stoplight that seems to be ubiquitous in my city and leaves me zero roll-back space to engage first gear in the snow, then I’m going to roll right back into them on purpose and then blame them for hitting me from behind!  Aaaaaannd…..done!

So, if anyone out there is driving along this winter and notices that their speedometer is reading something below 80 kms in an 80 km highway with no snow falling and very little on the road, just know that there’s a good chance I’m behind you swearing and shaking my fist because I took too long getting ready for work this morning and absolutely NEED to be doing at least the speed limit to get to work on time.  So, please everyone, can we all just DRIVE A LITTLE FASTER!!

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Jesse Wilkinson


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