Thursday, January 18, 2007

Driving on ice for idiots

You know the people I'm speaking of: the ones who think they're the greatest thing to guide wheels since Andretti and can safely do so over anything. They're usually either the first to wind up in ditches or front yards or crashing into somebody else; or the ones who cause the worst accidents.

Once upon a time I was a dispatcher for a LE agency. Two nights running one winter we had conditions that we hated worse than an ice storm(traffic-wise, that is): just a touch of mist, and the temperature was just right to cause every elevated surface in the central OK area to freeze over. And this was such a thin layer you couldn't see it, you just discovered it when you realized you had no steering control in the middle of a bridge or overpass. And then, as they say, hilarity ensued. Including the one OCPD unit that was hit three times in one evening, each time while working a different accident, and so forth.
In the middle of all this, I answered the phone and- close as I can recall- this conversation ensued:
"-, can I help you?"

"Yeah, how are the roads?"

"Icy and hazardous all through central Oklahoma, we're discouraging all travel."

"But how are they really?"


"Sir, they're icy and hazardous."

"Look, I know you have to say that for people who can't drive, but I've driven in Colorado and New Mexico in the mountains, and I know how. So how are they really?"

Considering I'm sitting there listening to various agencies on the radio calling for wreckers and ambulances and help to clear or block off a multi-car crash in between phone calls, I really didn't need to go through this- again- so I put a touch more 'formal and "I ain't gonna argue this crap with you" in my voice. "Sir, they really are icy and hazardous, and we're telling everyone to stay home."

"Come on now, I really do know how to drive on ice if there's really much out there, so how are they?"

At this point I have gone beyond a touch annoyed, so "Sir, every bridge and overpass around here has a coat of ice on it you can't see and we've got accidents all over the place."

"I've got studded tires and I'm used to driving on ice and snow, I'm not like these people around here who can't."

At which point I didn't really care about being polite any more. "Sir, we've got units that've been hit two or three times working accidents and it's not getting any better. And I don't care how good a driver you are, you hit a dime's worth of ice at the wrong time and you're dead."

Pause, followed by the click of him hanging up.

I came to hate that job.

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