Yesterday afternoon, five inches of snow fell on Madison in just a couple ofhours. Sarah and I just happened to be out and about running an errandwhen the snow started coming down in earnest.
The Beltline highway, onwhich we were traveling, is normally a high-speed, limited access roadsimilar to an Interstate highway. Yesterday, however, with blowing anddrifting snow and limited vision, most people were traveling about 30-45mph.
Select idiots eager to leap out of the gene pool (most drivingpickup trucks and SUVs), were traveling 50-65 mph in the so-called fastlane. This morning, the local NPR station leads off with thisheadline, “Five inches of snow caused two huge pile-up accidentson the Interstate 90 on Madison’s East Side.”
My initialreaction, of course, was that five inches of snow had nothing to do withit. The real cause of the accidents was a failure of people torecognize that travel conditions dictated slower speeds and increasedattention to the road. However, not a word was said in the reportabout how it requires too many people traveling entirely too fast in poorconditions to cause a 42 car collision and a twelve car collision.
Rather than blame drivers for acting like idiots and taking lives into theirhands (their own lives and others), society chooses to blame the snow.
How dare the snow fall in Wisconsin in January!
Even after leaving theBeltline, Sarah and I saw accident after accident on the surfacestreets. Most of the accidents were one car rear-ending another carafter driving too fast or following too closely. Have people forgottenthat even though they have all-wheel drive to get going, oftentimes thebiggest problem in the winter is getting stopped?!? Of course, societydoesn’t fault people for driving like idiots. We’d rather fault thesnow. I thought that this excerpt from the Wisconsin StateJournal was telling: “The first officer at the scene of the crash was State Patrol Sgt. DennisKruger. He said several cars that passed him while he was driving to thescene of the accident at 35 mph with his emergency lights on were eventuallyinvolved in the pileup.”‘I had my window rolled down and could hear the cars crashing intoeach other as I rolled up to the scene,’ Kruger said.’ ‘You justcan’t stop on glare ice.’”