Northwest Arkansas has been blanketed by snow (actually, tiny little ice pellets that resemble snow). Many people panicked. Some still are, hiding away in their homes in front of the heating vents or fireplace. And they should stay there.
Many of the people that I saw out on the road should stay be at home. My son lives 35 miles from us, and he had not panic-bought the store out of toilet paper, milk, bread, and water a couple days before the forecasted frozen precipitation fell. My father taught me to drive in the snow and ice.
I went through the Blizzard of ’79 in Chicago—though I wasn’t driving at the time. I went through three winters with several blizzards while we lived in Iceland. Though I was too you to have a driving permit (or license), my father told us every step of everything he did while driving in the snow.
I drove in a blizzard in Chicago in December of 1989. I drove after Northwest Arkansas received about seven inches of snow overnight in February of 1992. I drove when we received over a foot of snow in the winter of 2012. I drove when we had ice and snow covering the roads of Northwest Arkansas in January of 2014. And yes, I drove in the February winter storm Oaklee of 2022.
My son needed to some groceries. During my journey down Interstate 49, I came to the realization that many people who think they can drive in the snow and ice simply cannot. One such person was the man who was within two car lengths of my vehicle’s back end. The lane we were in had been kept pretty clear—yeah, highway department!!—but I am certain there was still patchy ice here and there.
As I neared the exit to get to my son’s apartment, another vehicle with a person who thought he could drive, pulled up beside me. He would speed up and slow down. I put on my turn signal, indicating my intention to change lanes and get off. He stayed beside me, neither speeding up nor slowing down. The car behind me would not back off.
I missed my exit. The other car beside me finally slowed down enough that I could get over and take the next exit. The car that had been behind me sped up to get bumper-to-bumper with the next car in the lane. As I took the offramp, I glanced over to see the blocking car. The driver had his phone up in front of his face!! Completely oblivious to how many lives he was putting in danger.
Moral of the story? Make sure my son panic buys before the next snowstorm so I can stay home and enjoy a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. And some sledding or just hiking in the snow because I like it frosty.