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Frosted by This Morning's Drivers

Here's a winter's tale.

Dear Dr. Gridlock: This morning it took a half hour to get the ice off my Toyota Prius. I chiseled the ice off all the windows, then dutifully cleared the entire vehicle of the inch-thick sheet of ice and snow that covered it. I am 5'2", so clearing the roof of even my relatively small car is a challenge. But I did it because I didn't want to endanger people with ice flying off my car in traffic.

And now I am frosted -- because I am apparently the only outdoor-parking car owner in the greater Washington area who did.

The flying icebergs sailing off SUVs and minivans were a constant and frightening hazard on today's commute from Gaithersburg to the Watergate. At one point on I-270, my car was struck in the driver's side windshield by a huge ice slab, courtesy of a Chevrolet behemoth that was passing me. I controlled my impulse to swerve because there was nowhere safe to swerve to, and was lucky my windshield didn't shatter.

Please remind your readers to clean their entire cars when we have snow and, especially, thick ice like this. I have never been so struck (literally) by the number of thoughtless drivers out there.

Jodie Morris

This isn't fair, and it's dangerous. Yes, it's cold and damp out, but drivers should give themselves more time on icy morning's like these -- which aren't surprises -- to do more than clear off a view port on the front windshield.

By Robert Thomson  |  January 28, 2009; 12:48 PM ET
Categories:  Weather  
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The only way to fix this is if local police are willing to enforce the law. Have them stationed near highway onramps, and pull over anyone with a lot of snow/ice on top. Tell them to clean it off before proceeding, with no violation issued if they do.

Posted by: ah___ | January 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Come now, Jodie, didn't you get the memo? Everyone else's time is more important than yours, especially on I-495.

(Actually, I'm pretty sure this is the cause of at least half of the godawful driving around here, the mentality that "I'm a politician/bureaucrat/Federal employee/lobbyist/power-mom/college student/etc. and so I have to be somewhere and I can drive like a maniac and shed ice off their cars en route -- who cares about the rest of you?! I'm important, dangit! I don't have time to be courteous!")


Posted by: | January 28, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh, come on, Jodie, didn't you know that the owners of the non-cleaned-off cars were lobbyists/Feds/college students/power moms/bureaucrats/politicians/etc. and therefore they were too *important* to actually think of anyone else on the road?

They *have* to get where they're going, dangit, and everyone else can just get off the road and let them pass because *they're* important! Doesn't everyone else see how important they are?

(Actually, my pet theory is that it's this sense of entitlement that makes for a LOT of the traffic snarls in the area, year-round....)

Posted by: | January 28, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I know at least one person who refuses to clean off the roof of the car because he likes the way the ice looks when it flies through the air.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 28, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Eh if you're just driving around town and don't get over 25mph I'm not too worried about it.

Posted by: chris4096 | January 29, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I drive from Gaithersburg to the Watergate via 270, and I share your frustration. I would add that while we fight the ice behemoths, we must remain alert to the speeding cars that dodge and swerve around traffic. These reckless drivers endanger others to gain eight feet ahead of us only to slam on the brakes when (surprise) there is a ton of traffic ahead. Ugh. I feel your pain.

Posted by: MarylandGirl3 | January 29, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

This is also a danger for pedestrians. I had a huge sheet of ice sail off the top of a car toward me while I was walking on the sidewalk in the District.

Posted by: nonprofitgal | January 29, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

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