By Freddie Heaney
Chuck Lawrence, senior engine builder at Jon Kaase Racing Engines, learned that snowfall was on its way and left work to go home at 11:30am—he starts around 5:30am. Stuck behind miles of stalled traffic he struggled to move ahead, inching forward 100yds in an hour at times and eventually arrived home at 10:15pm. He was furious with the ineptitude of his fellow road users and our traffic administrators and his fury was understandable.
Georgia governor, Nathan Deal, accepted the responsibility for the debacle, and rightly, for with pride we could not think of him. Chaos prevailed. Snow clearing equipment was sent stupidly to the wrong places and their operators were unable to save the situation. Incompetence reigned and some unfortunates were stranded by their vehicles for up to 19 hours. Two weeks later the state’s roads were derelict once again when we were advised to remain at home, despite not one snow flake coloring our highways.
In our youth we couldn’t wait for the snow to arrive to practice our car control. It was an addiction: in the early hours before work and again later after work we’d find a quiet parking lot somewhere and slide and drift for hours. We honed our driving skills on the slippery surfaces: how to recognize braking distances on snow and ice, how to feather the brake pedal, how to exercise patience and wait for the front wheels to take-a-set before turning. And when exuberance got the better of us, we also learned to straighten the steering wheel before mounting a curb thereby saving a road wheel.
So how did we become impotent in winter travel skills in the Deep South? Lawrence suspects too many inter relationships three hundred years ago before the world became mobilized while others blame the Weather channel for scaring the “be-jesus” out us! How is it that the Scandinavians and presumably the Canadians and others who occupy our northern hemispheres manage effortlessly while we are gripped by an inexplicable fear? Perhaps it’s time to find a quiet parking lot, a well-balanced vehicle with skinny tires and have some fun!