Tim Dowling: The first rule of driving in the snow? Don’t bother


It is Saturday morning, and my spouse and I are taking the canine to the park. It is snowing exhausting, because it has been all night time. As I pull the entrance door shut, my spouse turns and throws me her keys.

“You can drive,” she says.

“We’re driving?” I say.

“I can’t drive in snow. You can,” she says. She implies that as a result of I grew up in New England I’ve appreciable expertise of driving in blizzard situations, and that is true. For loads of drivers, the concept that you must flip your wheels right into a skid is essentially theoretical: think about with the ability to check it out six or seven instances in your approach to purchase milk.

What I imply to say is: I’ve performed each silly factor you are able to do in a automotive in the snow, and suffered the penalties.

“Is that the only reason you wanted me to come?” I say, activating the windscreen wipers, entrance and rear.

“Possibly,” she says. “I just don’t know how.”

“The first rule of driving in snow,” I say, “is Maintain good visibility.” I decrease the passenger window, and the wall of snow stacked in opposition to it falls into my spouse’s lap.

“Cheers,” she says. I don’t inform her that the actual first rule of driving in snow is: Don’t drive in the snow in case you don’t should. I flip the automotive and head east, with the whirling flakes piling straight into the windscreen.

“It’s actually quite deep,” I say.

“Get on with it,” my spouse says.

My expertise, I realise, is native and slightly out of date: I’m good at driving dangerous Nineteen Seventies automobiles, with heavy engines and rear-wheel drive, on slippery surfaces. The solely time these expertise come in helpful these days is when I’ve to push a flat-bed trolley loaded with sacks of gravel by the just-mopped lightbulb aisle at B&Q.

“With your front-wheel drive and modern antilock braking systems,” I say, “driving in snow isn’t actually that difficult.”

“Do we need to go this slowly?” my spouse says.

“I sort of thought the main roads would be cleared by now,” I say.

“Cleared how?” she says. “By whom?”

My expertise additionally depend on a excessive degree of expertise from fellow street customers. I’m not comfortable watching different drivers round me overshoot turns and fishtail into bins.

“Everyone’s a moron,” I say. “That’s the problem.”

“Are you sure that’s the problem?” my spouse says.

“I didn’t tell you this before, but the real first rule of…”

Ahead of me, two persons are approaching the edge of the street on foot. I occur to know there’s a pedestrian crossing there, its markings buried beneath a layer of new-fallen snow. The walkers don’t seem like collectively, however they’re on their telephones.

“They wouldn’t,” I say. But they do: they cross with out wanting up. I’m enraged by their inattention, although I’ve braked in lots of time – barely early, in reality.

“I’m not sure you’re as good at this as you think you are,” my spouse says.

“People are flinging themselves into the road!” I say.

“They’re not used to snow,” she says.

“Zero sense of self-preservation,” I say. “How dare you people go on about the blitz.”

“You want to be in the right lane here,” she says.

When we arrive at our vacation spot, I park in a spot the place I feel no others automobiles will be capable to slide into mine, regardless of how exhausting they struggle. The canine whines, wanting out.

“Well, that was a bit of an ordeal, wasn’t it?” says my spouse, undoing her seatbelt.

“It will be different on the way back,” I say. “Because you will be driving.”

“No, I won’t,” she says.

“You will,” I say, handing her the keys.

“I can’t drive in snow,” she says. “I really can’t.”

“Then we shall both die,” I say.

“I’m sorry,” she says.

“Too late,” I say.

By the time we’ve accomplished our stroll an hour later I’ve accepted my spouse’s apology and agreed to drive house. By then the roads are largely clear anyway, and driving in snow might be over for at the very least one other yr.

Hadley Freeman and Tim Dowling shall be in dialog on 25 February at 8pm. Find particulars and £5 tickets for his or her reside streamed occasion at membership.theguardian.com.



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