Tuesday, January 06, 2004

It's chaos! Madness! Pure insanity!

Actually, it's just snowing in Seattle. A pretty good snow, too...a whole three inches. You'd think the world was coming to an end.

Unfortunately, since the cities in the area are so incredibly unprepared for any amount of snow, this minor storm has paralyzed the area. I guess that's what happens when you only have five snowplows and a dumpster's-worth of sand to cover a city of 2.5 million people for the winter.

No one is out in their cars either, so the pressure and heat created by cars driving on the snow isn't high enough to melt the snow on the street. In places that actually have seasons like winter, all the cars on the road clear off the snow pretty quickly.

And because the area never gets snow, no one knows how to drive on it. Here's some pointers:
1) Drive slowly.
2) When taking off from standing still, step on the gas gently so that your wheels can get some traction. Stomping on the gas only makes the wheels spin. I swear it's the truth.
3) Start to gently brake a long time before you have to stop.
4) When you start to slide, steer in the direction you're sliding.
5) If a section of road looks like ice, it probably is.
6) If a section of road looks like snow, assume there's ice underneath.
7) Don't try to drive up or down steep hills with stop signs, stoplights, or some obstacle at the bottom.

And here are a couple that aren't just for this time of year:
8) Yellow lights mean "clear the intersection", not "step on the gas, the intersection is yours until the guy with the green light can enter it."
9) When driving on a multiple-lane highway, slower traffic keeps to the right, so that faster traffic can safely pass on the left.

Admittedly, I'm a little annoyed with how everyone treats the snow out here, but the Seattle area is pretty damn hilly, so even if everything were being well taken care of, it still wouldn't be a great place to drive in the snow. I'd certainly avoid downtown.

I can't believe I've written this much about snow. And I really can't believe I've written this much about snow that will be gone by the end of the day tomorrow.

The weather had the effect of getting me out of work early, so I spent the early part of the day organizing things at work and the latter part of the day doing some editing. I have a project due on the 15th and I'm doing well -- although the second half has been more of a challenge than the first. It's amazing what a difference a good writer makes.

Now I'm off to bed.


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