Good Question: Do We Forget How To Drive In the Snow?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you’re like most of us, you probably were late to work Monday.

Snow fell all throughout the morning rush and all the roads were a slippery, slushy mess. It got many of you asking: Do we forget how to drive in the snow?

Good Question.

The prevailing sentiment on Facebook and the street is that Minnesotans either (1) forget how to drive in the snow or (2) never quite learned how.

For example, Lisa Kenow wrote: “People drive like fools!!! Everyone is in a hurry.”

Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol said that a crash numbers spike when winter weather arrives after a considerable absence. The last two morning snowfalls followed this general pattern.

Friday morning saw 177 crashes and 300 spinouts. On Monday, there were 96 crashes and 140 spinouts – about half as many incidents as on Friday.

Roeske said when there is consistent snowfall, Minnesotans seems to adapt to driving in the snow.

“Last winter, with the constant snowfall, we did see some spikes from time to time. But it seems we do adapt to those winter driving conditions as time goes by,” he said.

So What Makes The Worst Winter Driver?

Those who drive too fast, Roeske said.

Did We Drive Better In The Good Ol’ Days?

There is no evidence to support this. If anything, statics say we drive better now.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Snow

    Don’t Forget the white knuckle drivers who go way too slow. they are just as dangerous as those who go too fast.

    • Jake

      I can agree with you on this one

    • Jerry

      Better late than never, better early than late, in other words leave earlier.

    • Learn to drive stupid

      In my view, the slow drivers are MUCH more dangerous than the fast drivers. The slow drivers force many, many drivers to have to change lanes to pass them, and anyone that has driven in this area for any length of time knows there is a much better chance of losing control while changing lanes than at any other time. Generally, when fast drivers lose control they spin off the road, but slow drivers cause car-into-car crashes.

      • You're the one that needs to learn to drive....

        Do you drive a SUV? You sound like you do. I don’t and i don’t have 4 wheel drive, and i normally have my baby and toddler in the car with me. I’m not going to drive faster than i’m comfortable with just to make you happy and risk the safety of my family, it will take you much longer to get where you’re going if you get in an accident trying to pass me than if you just slow down for a couple of miles while you travel behind me.

        • jackactionhero

          So you admit your vehicle is not equipped for driving in Minnesota weather?

          I think we’ve identified problem number 1.

          Let me guess… Chevy Cavalier? LOL

          • desert eagle .50

            How do think you know what kind of car the poster drives?

            As usual, please be specific.

            You are problem numero uno; the only person in the world with a negative IQ.

            Your father must be very proud. Too bad we can’t tell who he is.

          • K.

            Listen, even a 4-wheel drive is no good on slippery roads. I have actually seen more of them in the ditch than anything and I think it’s because drivers of 4-wheel drive vehicles have a false sense of security that they are, somehow, immune to the slippery roads. Don’t get me wrong, 4-wheel drive vehicles are great for driving through deep snow. But, on slippery or icey roads, they can lose control just as easily as vehicles without 4-wheel drive.

            • jackactionhero

              On slippery or icy roads, I can still drive uphill through 2 feet of snow. I did it yesterday on Orange Street in Prescott which is pretty darn steep hill.

              Your 2WD or FWD can’t.

              • Arthur Bork

                Hey jack, I used to have a 1975 Datsun. One sloppy winter day I had to make a left turn onto a major highway from a side road; there was this HUGE mound of snow/ice across the intersection, kicked up by the plow that had gone by only a few minutes before. Freaking snow was up to the middle of my front bumper, and even you should know how low-slung a 1975 Datsun was. By driving SANELY and SAFELY, I made through that mound of snow in less than 30 seconds. The guy in the huge 4-wheel-drive SUV behind me fish-tailed, swerved — and nearly spun out in that intersection.

                People such as yourself, jack, are the problem.

          • Arthur Bork

            By the way, jack, I have also seen many 4-wheel drive vehicles in the ditch. One was attached to another 4-wheel drive vehicle by a chain — the one in front slid in while trying to pull the other one out of the ditch. Guess what pulled both of them out of that ditch?

            That’s right, jack. It was a 2-wheel drive sedan.

      • Richard in Minneapolis

        Maybe instead of trying t pass under dangerous conditions you should try slowing down yourself. Slow drivers do not cause car-into-car crashes, people behind them driving too fast do.

        There is nowhere I have to be that I can’t afford the necessary time it takes to get there safely.

        • DougT

          Gee – retirement must be nice

        • Rockford

          We need to adopt a cooperative attitude. IF you are scared, unsure or just trying to be careful, move to the right. Let the drivers who have the skills or nerve to drive a little quicker pass.

          • E. Fudd

            A former govener of ours, J V, got signage “Slow traffic keep right” for MN interstates, why not have those posted within the metro areas also? This will keep all the spin outs from the speed demons on the left side of the highways and the rest of us can go on with our daily productive contributions to society in the clear “slow lane!” Win Win for everyone! Anyone ever heard of the childs story about the Tortoise and the Hare?

            • jackactionhero

              Yep, and the tortoise is going to have a hell of a time holding onto a job if he’s willing to be late every day.

              • Real Talk

                Bit of a stretch to imply or assume “every day” is going to be like yesterday. The Hare would have an even harder time holding a job when he is dead on the side of the road.

              • K.

                I wasn’t late yesterday because I left a little earlier than usual. If you plan ahead, get up earlier, and leave earlier, there is no reason to ever be late to work.

                • jackactionhero

                  My 35 minute drive was 125 minutes yesterday. Exactly how early do you think is early enough?

          • Tom

            @ Rockford

            That is very true!

            But when you are driving on roads that are only one lane each way a little difficult to do.

          • Arthur Bork

            I’m driving on I-35E, heading into Minneapolis, using the left lane because I’m going faster than the folks in the right lane. I’m behind three or four other people, all of use going about 60 mph. A guy comes up behind me, obviously going far faster than 60 — less than a minute ago, he was more than a mile behind, now he’s less than 20 feet off my bumper. I have nowhere to go, because there’s someone in front of me and there’s a LONG line of folks in the right-hand lane.


    • Arthur Bork

      There’s a reason for those “white knuckle drivers”. That reason is all you care-about-only-yourself drivers. Slow down, you’ll get to where you’re going. So you get there a few minutes later than if you drive 20-30 mph over the speed limit — you’ll get there ALIVE. You’ll also avoid getting that $200-$500 speeding ticket, too.

  • alligator

    most of these people who cause the accidents shouldn’t be behind the wheel in the first place.

    • Arthur Bork

      Most of these people who cause the “accidents” think they’re Mario Andretti.

  • biglou64

    How many of these problem winter drivers were actually born and raised in the north country? We have too many imports from the lands of no snow.

    • DougT

      Too many were born here – thats why they do not know how to drive – Podunk Country – people so unaware of whats going on around them…..The Little People

      I mean it too aggressive to make eye contact or communicate (use a blinker) with others around you…..

      • Jerry

        Last week I was stopped at a red light on Hwy. 36 with other cars when I heard someone lock up their brakes. I hunched my shoulders, and prepared for the worst. Next came a loud crash from the lane next to me, some one had rear ended
        the car next to mine that had been stopped for at least thirty seconds, maybe more, on dry pavement. This had nothing to do with slippery roads, traveling to slow, or to fast, it was caused by someone not paying attention to their driving.

        • E.Fudd

          Who can be bothered with ‘paying attention to their driving’ while texting that all important, “IDK, WDUWTD?”

      • Arthur Bork

        Problem for you, Doug, is that out here in “Podunk Country” we do use turn signals and make eye contact. It is a rare day when I see more than 20% of CITY drivers use their turn signals — or even drive SANELY. 80% of the “road rage” I have seen has been in the CITIES.

  • R O Adrage

    The bigger “Good Question” is:
    Do most Minnesotans really know how to drive?

    Judging from what I see and deal with on a regular basis, i am inclined to say No.

    From left lane slowpokes that think they are cops and will not go a mile over the limit (if they are driving that fast)
    To the folks that don’t know how to merge
    To those m0rons who think a right turn on red means they can turn in front of me when i have the green light and am coming down at 40+mph into the intersection….

    I’m sure other readers can add to the list of their pet peeves

    • Jerry

      When you are driving notice the distance between the cars that are merging. Nine times out of ten they are bumper, to bumper. There is suppose to be a three second space between them, the same thing goes for the cars already on the road they are merging into. If you are traveling three quarters of a second, or less, behind the car ahead of you it is impossible to avoid hitting them if they suddenly apply their brakes. More stopping time is required on slippery pavement.

      • I_hate_mini_vans

        Jerry, seriously??… it’s not rocket science :) If people need a lesson like the one you just noted above they shouldn’t be driving on the road period.

        • Jerry

          Obviously they do, the highways are full of them.

    • DougT

      Bang – spot on!

      Thank you for saying it :)

      • I_hate_mini_vans

        DougT – I’m relieved to see somebody else agree with me!

        Thank you :)

        • K.

          The other thing people don’t know how to do is yield when they come to a yield sign. For some reason, they all think they should merge. No, you don’t. Yield means that you “yield” to other traffic. In other words, if there is traffic coming, you stop and wait for it to pass and then you can go. You do not merge! Get it straight, people!

          • I_hate_mini_vans

            Isn’t it sad that we have to even explain something like this to people!?

            I like the one’s that don’t yield, cut you off, then look at you like it’s all your fault.

    • Snow

      A road by my house i use just about every day people go as much as 15 mph under the limit (30 in a 45). And the Worst part is it one of the road that used to be 2 lanes but was reduced to 1 lane to “improve safety”

      Just in case someone reading this doesn’t know how to Merge.

      you should be going the speed of traffic BEFORE you enter the freeway/highway

    • I_hate_mini_vans

      I couldn’t agree with you more… It’s like anytime a rain drop drops or a flake fly froms the sky, people immediately turn into complete i.d.i.o.t.s!!

      One of my biggest pet peeves to add to the list is how people merge onto the highway. Some people follow that shoulder all the way to the very last inch… learn how to merge!! And if you think people should slow down to let you in, think again! You’re the one who is merging… gauge peoples speed, get to their speed and then merge already.

    • Arthur Bork

      One of my pet peeves is how people WILL NOT LET OTHERS MERGE. Y’all can SEE the traffic coming down the ramp, but y’all never make the slightest move to let that traffic merge in…..

      Try squeezing YOUR car into a space half its size sometime — THEN try to complain about others not merging “correctly”.

  • pizzedoff

    Get the heck out of the left lane! Don’t be a headache for others who can handle the conditions and know what to expect of their vehicle.

    • Arthur Bork

      I know what to expect from my 2005 vehicle — that it can decide to drop its bumper or transmission at ANY time. I expect the same of YOUR vehicle, too, no matter how “new” it happens to be.

      As for handling the conditions, you have obviously NEVER encountered what is known as BLACK ICE. I have — and because I do not drive like a maniac, I am still alive to tell about it.

  • John

    Clearly its those that can’t drive fast enough or conditions, ones that drive in left lane which by law is made for passing and faster traffic, These people need to ride share Bus or stay home. Minnesota is plagued with drivers of this type! They just don;t get it. There the accident causers!

  • Raymond Babbitt

    I’m a great driver!

  • rich

    The problem is most people dont have snow tires. They have all season that are balding. Get the proper tools for the job!

    • Arthur Bork

      The last time I had “snow tires” on a vehicle, they did nothing to make driving in snow any easier or safer. See, we don’t drive in the snow — we drive on the ROAD.

      Try driving as though the bumper or window of the vehicle in front of you is going to come off at any time. Here’s a hint: hanging less than 15 feet off the guy in front of you leaves ZERO time to react to that bumper falling off.

  • George

    I think most people on the roads are good drivers but it takes only one monkey to stop the show and it seems like Minnesota is getting way more monkeys than we deserve.

    • Bad Drivers are The Worst

      90% of all drivers on the road need to be retested, and retested every time they have their drivers license renewed.

  • snowman

    Problem is you all think you’re the worlds greatest drivers, most don’t
    want to admit they are average or below average at best when it comes to
    handling adverse conditions

    • K.

      I couldn’t agree more. The other thing is that most people know that to talk on a cell phone while driving is dangerous except when they are doing it. I have spoken to people who claim that they are “extra” careful when they use the cell phone while driving and it’s everyone else who isn’t careful when they use the cell phone. Unfortunately, I’ve never been around a driver on a cell phone who looked like they were paying attention and were driving too slow. If you think you are the exception, think again as the research doesn’t support that you can use a cell phone and drive safely.

      • Arthur Bork

        It is possible to use a cell phone while driving and still be safe — IF you use a hands-free headset/earphone. They cost less than $15, and the majority of cell phones now come with them in the package.

        When you have to keep that phone attached to your ear by holding it with a hand that could be used to help control your vehicle, YOU are the danger on the road.

  • Bud

    Rather be safe than sorry.

  • Ain't got time to be searched

    I’d like to see the statistic on the percentage of SUV/trucks v. passanger cars that are involved in crashes. Which type of vehicle is in more crashes, or are they about the same? I heard a wise old Trooper say once, which has stuck with me: “Four wheel drive does NOT mean four wheel stop.” You guage your speed based upon how long it would take you to stop. Plain and simple.

    • jackactionhero

      So you’re actually arguing that 4WD vehicles get in MORE weather related accidents than your 2W POS?

      I can go up icy hills and blow right by your little FWD volkswagon that is stuck helplessly at the bottom. Happens all the time.

      • Arthur Bork

        And I have “blown right by” more 4-wheel drive SUVs in the ditch than I care to count. Oh, and I have NEVER driven a 4-wheel drive vehicle in my entire life.

        Hey, jack, try STOPPING on those icy hills some time. Your 4-wheel drive will be 100% useless when you can’t stop.

    • skypilot

      Well said Also most people dont know how to handle a vehicle in a spin or skid.
      And then there are the accident gawkers

      • Jerry

        The problem starts before a spin, skid, or gawking. If they were doing it right non of the fore mentioned would ever happen. They are a product of bad driving.

      • Ain't got time to be searched

        Actually, I don’t mind the accident gawkers. At least they are going slow to look, which lessens their chance of becomming a crash victim also, like the poor guy/gal they’re looking at.

        • skypilot

          have almost been rear ended by accident gawkers.if you want to look,pull off the road!

  • bigrig

    Drivers should be fined for slowing to gawk at accidents. I havw driven coast to coast and Minnesota has the worst drivers bar none

    • jackactionhero

      They should be beaten with a wet noodle.

    • Arthur Bork

      Truckers may have a schedule to keep — but your schedule in no way over-rides my right to NOT be in an “accident” YOU caused by YOUR driving as though you owned the road.

  • barrister

    Most people drive wat outside their capabilities wwhile not paying attention

  • unhappy commuter

    For those of you complaining about the ‘slow left lane drivers’ – I agree with you that the left lane is for passing, but for those of us driving according to conditions in the RIGHT lane, GET OFF MY BUMPER, GET OFF THE PHONE & PUT DOWN YOUR DONUT. Oh, & I am one of the “transplants” from out of state, but I lived downwind of Lake Michigan, where our average snowfall was 70″+. Not to mention we got way more ice storms, so unless the transplant is from the South or California, not all transplants are idiots!

  • Annette

    I found that to avoid being late to work it is best to leave earlier so you are not rushed. Many times I leave one to one and a half hour before I have to get to work. I do not have to drive like a “jack rabbit” all over the place and have much less stress.

    • jackactionhero

      Jackrabbits don’t drive at all, smarty pants.

      • Arthur Bork

        No, but it seems jackwagons do drive, jack.

  • Arthur Bork

    So y’all think that when someone spins out while driving in the left lane, they’re going to magically STAY on the left side of the road every time? How about y’all give that a try some time — on an empty freeway (I hear North and South Dakota still have empty freeways) so y’all don’t endanger anyone but yourselves.

    Y’all claim that “accidents” are caused by the slower drivers? No, they are not — they are caused by y’all, being in such a gawd-awful hurry that y’all leave ZERO room for the EMERGENCY maneuvers other drivers may have to make. The guy in front of y’all may have to slam on the brakes because of a rock or hole in the pavement, or something falls off the truck in front of them, and because YOU “happen” to be following less than fifteen feet behind at 70 mph…… Tell me, is it really any better to plow into someone because THEY hit something while driving faster than you?

    If y’all really must drive as there were no speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic, tail-gating so close that I can see the bugs on YOUR windshield (forget your front bumper, it’s well below my mirror’s field of view), please do it when I am not on the same road as y’all. Unlike you, I WANT to be alive when I get to where I am driving.

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