Snowmageddon. Snowzilla. A couple of feet of snow and people around DC talk about it like the end of the world. Even a light snowfall terrifies people; drivers skid off the road and schools close. Buses are canceled. When plows finally get there, they dump snow on the sidewalks so that people can’t even walk to where they’re going.
In the DFW area, it’s worse. A 2015 news story reports, “Crews at Dallas/Fort Worth continue to recover from the 3-plus inches that fell there overnight.” Recover from 3-plus inches?! What would they do with an actual snowstorm? The article goes on to tell us “the highways are littered with spun-out cars.”
We New Englanders don’t get this. Snow falls, you drive carefully, it gets plowed. Sure, we curse it, and sometimes we bump into each other, but life goes on. We have our snow tires, chains, shovels, and scrapers. A foot is a snowstorm; anything less is just a flurry.
But we have to be fair. We understand snow because we get a lot of it. If a three-inch fall could shut us down, we’d just have to lock ourselves in our homes from December to March. We have a lot of practice driving in snow. We have a lot of snowplows. We have roads that can survive a winter of freezing and thawing over and over again, with no more than a few potholes to show at the end. In all honesty, our own driving skills aren’t always that great when we get the first serious snow of the winter. We need to get back in practice.
Highways in the South are often built with concrete. It’s more durable than asphalt, but it’s slippery when covered with snow. Frost heaves do more damage to it. Asphalt absorbs more heat from the sun, melting off ice and snow. That isn’t so good when it softens under the Texas summer sun.
But seriously, be careful
Snow makes driving dangerous, no matter where it falls. State departments of transportation often warn: “If it’s not a health or safety emergency, stay off the roads when it snows!” That advice would be laughable up north, but it’s not just your own driving skills that are the problem; it’s everyone else on the road, any of whom could make a mistake that puts your life in danger. They just don’t have the experience and practice.