Friday, July 31, 2009

Apparently we can’t drive in the rain, either


I don’t know if people have gotten worse at driving in the rain here in Arkansas over the past couple of decades or I’ve just become impatient over the years.

It’s a well established fact that we Arkansans are absolutely clueless when it comes to driving in the snow. Folks who move down here from up north tend to marvel at our complete inability to drive on snow but that’s not totally our fault. We can’t help the way we slide around on frozen roads for a couple of reasons – we haven’t had the practice and we don’t have the equipment.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s say a foot of snow falls on a town in Iowa. What do they do? City workers get up early, plow the streets and then drive around like nothing happened.

Here in Benton, Ark., a snow flake hitting the street and sticking might be enough to shut down the town. Yes, schools let out and a lot of us just stay home until the snow melts.

It doesn’t snow here that often so we haven’t had much practice driving on it. Also, we don’t have a lot of the equipment necessary to clear the streets when we get snow or ice. That actually makes sense – that equipment is expensive, so why buy it if you’ll use it (at most) about a week a year?

At any rate, I noticed today that a lot of us stink when it comes to driving in the rain, too. I headed off to work this morning in what I’d describe as moderate rainfall (i.e., it was raining too hard to get by with using the “mist” setting on my windshield wipers) and my 25-minute commute took about 45 minutes.Hood_Rocket_Emblem-75x270

Why? Well, a wreck on I-30 slowed things down quite a bit. I noticed  the wreck, really, when I ran over a piece of Oldsmobile on the interstate.

That’s right. A piece of Oldsmobile. I ran right over it. It was a rubbery chunk of that stuff that covers bumpers or something like that.

I assume it was a piece of Oldsmobile I hit, however, because it was sitting near an Oldsmobile that was in terrible, terrible shape. The front in was bashed in and the hood had that accordion look to it that’s typically reserved for Saturday morning cartoons.

A wreck that’s severe enough to cause pieces of one of the cars involved to back up traffic is something that delays things quite a bit. From the looks of things, the Olds clearly skidded into an SUV (that vehicle didn’t have pieces falling off of it) and one can only guess that the rain caused that wreck.

In fact, the rain caused wrecks all over central Arkansas today – according to the traffic reports on the radio, at least. I came across the battered Oldsmobile and saw another truck that had went into the median on I-430, too.

The truck one was interesting in that the vehicle was clearly bogged down in the median and it was being connected via a tow strap to another truck that looked like it was on its way to getting stuck in the mud. So, yeah, there was another delay – people had to drive by it slowly and look at it.

So we can’t drive on snow or ice. We can’t drive in the rain. People are getting in wrecks during rush hour constantly because they’re chatting on cell phones rather than paying attention to what’s going on around them. I’m amazed I haven’t yet been in a wreck during my commute.

1 comment:

Harrison said...

People in SF can't drive in the rain either even though it rains here 5 months a year!