An open letter to Virginia drivers

I love Virginia. Your state is beautiful, and you are friendly, welcoming people. I am proud to call the commonwealth my adopted home these past seven years. Yet there is one thing about this place I dread, and about this I must be direct. You, the drivers of Virginia, have no clue about how to drive on slippery winter roads.

Yesterday we had a full day’s worth of sleet and freezing rain. It bent trees, downed power lines, canceled schools– before a single drop of precipitation fell, somehow– and generally made everything miserable. So, when I awoke this morning, everything in sight was covered in slick sheets of ice. I am a native of a (slightly) colder climate, perhaps a little more accustomed to slippery roads than many of you, and while such conditions are annoying, I can handle them. Most of you, on the other hand, lose any remnants of common sense you might retain.

During my commute to work this morning, I saw nearly a dozen of you wildly stepping on your accelerators and spinning your wheels on the ice. My commute is less than ten minutes, so this is not an idle observation. Let’s be clear: if your wheels are not spinning at the same rate and in the same direction that your car is traveling, you are not in control of your car. The only things controlling your vehicle are the laws of gravity and friction, and I don’t think they care the slightest bit about your insurance deductible.

This is ice, people. You can’t just step on the gas as if it were the middle of July. God forbid, you might even have to shift into first gear and travel slowly (gasp!). And turn into the skid. And brake sooner. And not follow other drivers so closely… You know, have you thought about taking a sick day? The kids are out of school; maybe you can go build a snow fort in the back yard? How often do we get a chance to play in the snow in our busy lives? Come on, it’ll be fun. Just don’t go anywhere near your car, at least until I get to work.