Thursday, January 30, 2014

Southern Snow Driving

So.  The south has taken a beating from Mother Nature this week, and southerners have taken a beating from the world.  Places that haven’t seen snow in years had accumulation (which for us starts when we see white on the ground) and places that usually see some snow saw a lot of snow and ice, really fast.  It was bad.  People were unprepared, people made questionable decisions, and people drove badly.  And we have been mocked and criticized.
There have been plenty of articles and blog posts detailing why we should be mocked, why we shouldn’t be mocked, who is to blame, who isn’t to blame, who did what, didn’t do what, should have done what, or shouldn’t have done what.  I’m sure you’ve read at least some of them.  I’m not going to go into any of that.  I don’t claim any expertise in that area, but I have determined that there seem to be four distinct types of southern snow drivers:
1.        The non-drivers.  This group (which I’m a card-carrying member of) does not drive in the snow.  We just DO.  NOT.  DRIVE.  IN.  THE.  SNOW.  We value life and limb. This group consists mostly of G.R.I.T.S. (girls raised in the south), and we grew up being taught the value of staying home in the snow. 

It doesn’t matter if we have an armored tank available.  We simply do not venture out.  We buy our milk and bread when the nice folks at the Weather Channel tell us to.  We buy batteries and snacks.  And we arrive home to lock our doors and charge our phones long before the first flake swirls.   

We do not venture out.  It doesn’t matter what is going on, who claims to need us, or who assures us we can do it.  We do not venture out until the roads are cleared.  You won’t find us stuck on a highway, tumbling down an icy ravine, or ending up in a fiery crash in the median.  Nope.  We understand the perils of snow driving, and we choose to live another day by not engaging in such risky behavior.  The Yankees mock us. Other southerners mock us.  We don’t care.  We’re alive to be mocked.

2.        The cautious drivers.  This group (which is usually the one Nick is part of) consists mostly of native southerners, usually men.  They will drive in the snow.  They drive slowly, and they plan out the “best” route for getting from Point A to B.  They do not go anywhere that isn’t “necessary” and they’re often willing to take non-drivers along with them.  (Side note:  they’re the only group non-drivers will even consider getting in the car with when there’s snow on the ground.)

The cautious drivers reach a point at which they decide that the current road conditions are worse than their skill set and caution can compensate for.  They’re the ones who take two hours to get home from a place that normally takes 20 minutes to get home from.  They make it home, realize that conditions have deteriorated, and stay put until the roads improve somewhat.

3.        The four-wheel drive/powerful car/big truck/SUV/Y chromosome drivers. (Occasionally Nick joins this group.)  NOT all of the people who own any/all of these things fall into this group.  Just the ones who think that these vehicles have been sprinkled with some sort of magic fairy dust that makes them invincible.  Not all of the members of this group drive four wheel drive vehicles.  Some, just by virtue of being male, got the magic fairy dust. 

Icy roads, snow covered lane lines?  No problem!  They have four wheel drive/a big truck/an SUV/a Y chromosome.  They will be FINE!!!  They are often the folks attempting to help others out of ditches or giving everyone else a ride home.  They will drive around in snow simply for the sake of driving around in the snow.  They are thrilled to help unfortunate motorists out of bad situations. 

They have their magic fairy dust, so it’s no big deal for them.  They are genuinely shocked and puzzled that not everyone believes in their magic fairy dust.

4.        The “Superior Drivers”.  This group consists largely of Yankee transplants (note, not all Yankee transplants are like this) who believe that their having moved from places that get “real winters” gives them an edge, and southerners who believe they have been given superior intelligence and snow driving skills.  The only thing that frightens this group about driving in the snow is that (oh, the horror) there are “others” out there driving.  Other, inferior beings.

This groups believes that by virtue of having successfully driven in snow before, and/or having been gifted with superior intelligence and snow driving skills, they are far more qualified to drive in snow than any other group.   They mock all three of the other groups: the Non-Drivers for our lack of intelligence and gumption, the Cautious Drivers for their caution and timidity, the Magic Fairy Dust Drivers for their good natured attitude and belief that things other than Yankee roots or superior southern intelligence can give you the right to drive on snow covered roads. 

If this group chooses not to drive during the snow it is only for fear of what havoc the imbeciles who have no business being out there will cause.  If any accident befalls members of this group, it is never their fault, a member another group or the city/county/state/snowplow/salt truck drivers are to blame.  Certainly not a Superior Driver!

At least, these are the four groups that I think southern drivers fall into during the snow. What about you?  Which group are you in?  Or is there another group I don’t know about yet?


  1. LOL, enjoyed reading your categories of drivers. When I lived in Montana, I had my own category. We'll call it the reluctant driver. I knew I had to get out there and drive kids to school and go to pick up my work, but I didn't want to be out there on the road. Of the eight years we lived there, I finally got comfortable driving in the snow about year five. Didn't really like the ice, but could manage it. Otherwise, I was the "white knuckle driver", holding tight to the steering wheel and going slower than normal just trying to be safe.

    I think you were wise to be the one that doesn't venture out!


  2. As a card-carryin' northerner I am a member of Group 5....the I'm not an idiot so I will only drive if it's an emergency group. Running out of bread isn't an emergency, chopping off a body part *might* be.
    I never laugh at anyone who is smart enough to stay safe when bad weather is involved and those who do? Yeah, they're usually the first to end up in a ditch or in an accident.

  3. LOL I'm in group 2 but wouldn't mind being in group 1. I'm a Florida girl and in North Carolina now. We got about 4 inches and if I didn't have to I would have stayed home but the animal adoption center has to have someone come in even in bad weather and that's my job. But it's only 3 miles away thank goodness. And in Cary they prep our roads for any even hint of a storm coming so it's not too bad.

  4. I am a card-carrying #1. I actually spent much of this past Tuesday weighing in on whether it was worth it to get out for my 2:00 class since that was precisely when the weather was rolling in...and I did go, but it was NOT fun getting home. Won't do that again. A 75-minute class isn't worth it. I will call in, show them my 'Snowy, No Drivey' card and stay home!!!


  5. Hysterical. You know, we have the same four groups here, too (and we live in the north)!


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