Sunday, December 21, 2008

Crashing Through the Snow

Does anybody remember the movie Lost World: Jurassic Park? If you blocked it out (because really, that movie is kinda embarrassing), there's a scene where a T-Rex nudges a couple of trailers towards a cliff, so a quick thinking hero hitches the trailers onto the back of his truck and he floors the gas pedal so that he can pull the trailers back onto safe ground. And of course, the truck is hydroplaning on muddy ground from side to side, but somehow manages to his goal.

I sometimes wonder if that film was used in lieu of proper driver's ed.

Vancouver residents are usually used to two types of weather: rain and sunny periods. However, the tendency seems to be that a single flake of snow hits the ground, and all the lessons of driver's ed are spontaneously forgotten. It's not complete rocket science. Drive slowly and leave plenty of room behind the vehicle in front of you.

It's quite simple, actually. If your wheels are spinning, it means that they aren't getting a proper grip on the road, so you aren't going to be moving that fast. And to avoid that, you lightly touch the gas pedal so that your tires get a proper grip on the snow and move you forward. I don't even consider myself a "great" driver, yet I was able to get home safely without sliding or spinning, and all without the benefit of snow tires and chains. And yes, the road conditions on Granville street were pretty horrendous.

And of course, I encountered at least three drivers that managed to completely forget the basic rules of driving in adverse road conditions. I could make a few concessions for the guy in the Ford Mustang GT. It's a rear wheel drive vehicle, which makes it more difficult to climb up steep inclines. We watched as he slid completely off to the side.

The guy in the Mazda 3 fared slightly better, as he was able to at least sort of keep up with traffic. I'm assuming that he had decent tires, even though he was spinning his wheels the entire way. He also had front wheel drive. but I still made a point of giving this guy a clear path.

What really made the trip truly memorable was the young woman driving an Audi Quattro. It's times like this that remind me that there's a good reason why the Chinese are stereotyped as bad drivers, and as much as I would prefer to deny it, times like this make me hang my head in shame. And I'm Chinese, and I drive, which by definition, makes me a "Chinese driver."

For starters, she was gunning the engine, causing the wheels to spin in place, yet she wasn't going very fast. As a result, she was seriously impeding traffic, and I wasn't able to overtake her for a while, as traffic in the other lane was being impeded by another guy who was also spinning his wheels. What made it even better, was the fact that her passenger actually got out of the vehicle to kick snow out of the way. And yes, they were both Chinese.

It's bad enough that she's impeding traffic because she doesn't know how to drive in adverse road conditions, but the logic behind their alternative attempt at moving just boggles the mind. It's pretty certain that the vehicle isn't going to be moving very fast while the wheels are spinning, but there is still the off-hand chance that the wheels will catch a grip somewhere...while the guy is in front of her kicking snow out of the way. And then there also begs the question. For how long were they planning on doing this? There's a pretty good chance that they live in Richmond too. Do they plan to cross the Oak street bridge like that too?

I'm really anticipating tomorrow's morning news showing some guy got run over by an Audi because he was trying to clear the snow by kicking it out of the way.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Toquinha,
vancouver Fark party coming up on Feb 2nd. Drew will be in attendance:

aka Procedural Texture