When I was younger, there wasn’t much that scared me.
One of those things that frightened me was snakes, but in seventh-grade biology class, I could still hold four or five different ones without being too nervous. I was proud of myself because now in my 40s if I saw a snake in my house, I would probably run out the door and never return.
One of the other things that has always scared me is driving in inclement conditions. The first time I drove in snow, I had a minor accident. The weather conditions were fine when I went to play practice at the high school, but by the time I was done, there was a slick layer of ice that sent me sliding into a curb and did a bit of damage to my old friend, the red Honda Accord.
From that point on, I have been nervous, even if it is a tiny bit of snow.
Growing up in Wyoming and now living in Montana, you would think I would have adjusted better, but I’m still so nervous driving in snow that my hands are so gripped to the steering wheel that they almost feel they will become permanently attached.
I don’t know if it is something that I recognize more in age, but it seems like each winter, the number of bad drivers on the roads seems to increase, and this makes things so much worse for people who are just trying to get somewhere safe.
Living in southwest Montana and spending a lot of time on the Interstate, there is never an easy trip during inclement conditions. Homestake Pass, Cardwell Hill, Milligan Canyon, Three Forks to Bozeman, Bozeman to Livingston, and Boulder to Helena can often be a nightmare, and it makes me sick when I see people flying by me going way too fast.
Many people are always in a hurry, and I don’t understand why. If roads are bad, just leave a little bit earlier. This makes it much easier for those just trying to get somewhere safely.
I don’t know how often I have seen someone fly past me, going well above the speed limit, only to see them later in a ditch.
There are times when, no matter how cautiously you drive, you might hit a patch of black ice or slide off the road, but it’s far less than those who feel the need to put other lives in danger by unnecessarily speeding.
Passing on the Interstate also irritates me, no matter the road condition.
Maybe it is just me, but just about every time I try to pass someone, they seem to start to speed up as I’ve somehow offended them. This is a pain in the backside when the roads are fine, but it’s flat-out dangerous when there is snow and ice.
I’ve always tried to stay off bad roads when I don’t need to be somewhere, and I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of this last year when I slid off the road in the middle of nowhere.
I wasn’t driving fast or trying to pass someone; I just hit a patch of ice that sent me sliding. While my intentions of trying to cover a playoff football game were admirable, based on the roads that day, I should have stayed home for not only my safety but the safety of others.
It would make things safer if people didn’t make unnecessary trips. Most things can wait.
We have to pick up the newspaper in Helena on Tuesdays and then deliver it in town on Wednesdays, but if the roads are horrific, we can always just wait a few hours or a day to go and pick them up. It’s just not worth taking a chance.
Before moving to Montana, I remember them putting variable speed limit signs on Interstate 80, a brutal stretch of road through Wyoming.
I’d be very interested to see if those seem to work at all, and if they do, it might not be a bad idea to have some on Interstate 90.
I’m not retiring or moving anywhere warm anytime soon, so I will have to navigate bad roads sometimes, but it sure would be nice to have people slow down and drive appropriately or not at all.
Safe travels to everyone, even if you speed up while I’m safely trying to pass.