Ahhh. It's that time again, when Hoosiers all over the state are trying to recall how they drove all the years of their lives prior without landing in a ditch. Some of us use the "granny" method - we drive in slow motion, prematurely use our turn signals in order to make sure anyone within a mile of us knows exactly what our plans are, and slowly press on the brakes (as if a baggie of nitroglycerin is lying under the pedal) well before we need to. Other Hoosiers, use the "plow" method. Whether or not they have a 1993 Caravan, or a 1987 pickup, they blast their (usually bald) tires through snow banks to pass people turning in their path and shoot slush like wings of waterfowl toward anyone silly enough to be walking in this temperature. You know who you are. The latter group seem to be of the male persuasion or younger than 25. (Hmm. Maybe the insuarance agencies had it right all along?) The only people this way of driving works for is those driving a HUMMER, or that have the cheat code for an endless supply of lives - neither of which I have. I granny along and try not to road skate. Road skating is a lot like ice skating without the blades and with much bigger skates ... skates of which seem to always swerve to one side or the other ... (ya know what I mean?) just like my ankles did when I used to attempt the ice in a rink ... when I was silly enough not to care if I had kneecaps made of bone. What I can't figure out is why it takes Hoosiers well into January to remember that, in the winter, the roads are icy. We all see the vehicle on the side of the road with six inches of snow and two or more colorful stickers on it. We see the smiling tow service truck drivers pushing along with our neighbor's only transportation (and a fender that makes it look like it was cast as an extra in the latest version of Grand Theft Auto). Still we see drivers whipping out into traffic, not using signals and coming up on us old timers WAY to fast. I guess I used to think I was indestructible too ... and that I was an incredibly safe winter driver ... until last Christmas Eve.
I was doing my best impression of a helpful elf spreading holiday cheer with tins full of fresh-baked goodies and my kids in tow. My co-pilot son (who I have to remind like I'm a parrot on No-Doze, "When you have a license you can tell me how to drive") told me I was driving too fast. I explained that 40 in a 55 was perfectly safe, even though it was raining ice, and told him that (as all seasoned drivers know) by tapping on the brakes (in nitro-avoiding mode) I could determine how fast was too fast, and how much time I would have to give myself before pushing on the brake should someone pull out in front of me. He suggested that sounded like a bad idea, to which I proceeded to show him, as an integral driving lesson, at about 38 miles per hour, how to tap the brakes, fishtail, overcorrect, scream like a horror movie star, spin the car 360 degrees (three times in a row!)smash into small trees and park a car sideways on top of bushes in a four foot deep ditch. Not an easy task I tell you! He was SO impressed! As was my hysterical daughter in the back seat. NO I didn't do it on purpose so I could get a new vehicle. And yes, I taught the kids a lesson, just not the one I had intended. THIS winter, they appreciate my "granny" driving and they don't mind my leaving the "plowing" and road skating to the rest of the world. My kids in the back seat of a teenager's car while he/she is doing donuts. NOPE!