The first weather-related traffic crash I was ever in occurred in Mountain Home, Idaho, when I was — hell, I don’t know. Ten?
Doesn’t matter. I was sitting in the back of the Peugeot station wagon that our family bought in France and which the Old Man had driven clear across America without a scratch. If you knew my family, that’s way more amazing than it sounds.
On a snowy day, Mom took a corner a little too fast for the conditions and bashed into another car. I don’t recall much about it other than it jolted me out of my seat, the other guy was mad, and the cops came.
Wait. I did holler for the cops to beat the other driver with their clubs for yelling at Mom before they got there. Mom made me roll up the window. I watched but nobody got roughed up.
The second winter accident I recall is when I was driving my ’65 Plymouth and plowing through the median somewhere near Brigham City because, as the Utah Highway Patrol trooper put it, “You must have had your head up your a-- for driving that fast when it’s snowing like this.”
A few more weather-related crashes made me realize that snow and ice make good drivers bad and bad drivers a public menace.
A few years ago, I approached a legislator whose identity I shall protect by referring to him here only as Lee Perry, R-plus. Lee is a UHP lieutenant when he’s not screwing around at the Legislature. That’s all you need to know about my source.
Anyway, I suggested to this lawmaker that Utahns should be required to have a winter validation on their driver licenses, something that indicates they have safe winter-driving skills.
No more getting a license by passing a driving test on a day when the weather is nice. There should also be a practical road test for winter driving.
If the rest of Utah is going to share the road with you, it should be required that you demonstrate your ability to drive when the roads are covered with 2 inches of frozen KY Jelly.
Without such a validation on a license, it would be illegal for the motorist to drive between September and March.
Furthermore, anyone without this validation whom the police pull over during the restricted period would suffer immediate and dire consequences.
My legislative contact said that while a winter-driving validation made some sense, he wasn’t going to draft a bill requiring violators to don a fluorescent orange vest and, regardless of the conditions, scoot the rest of the way to their destinations on their butts.
Stupid Legislature. No wonder this state is so messed up. Anyone who comes up with a decent public safety measure is immediately dismissed as a kook.
Something has to be done. To the unwinterized driver (or your average motoring idiot), a patch of ice can turn a commuter into one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
My legislative contact and I have had to unsnarl 30-car pileups because one driver didn’t slow down when weather conditions got bad.
It’s possible that my enthusiasm for a winter-validation license program is largely because it wouldn’t affect me. Whenever there’s snow or even a cold rain, my truck keys seem to disappear from the hook in the kitchen.