Thursday, December 5, 2013

More Schadenfreude

I am not too morally superior to revel occasionally in schadenfreude. Especially when it's a case of bad drivers getting what the laws of physics decree is coming to them. Or sometimes just laws. We're familiar with seeing the speeder getting pulled over for a ticket, right?

Yesterday was one of those days where physics took over. I have long since been the slow driver in the right lane under those conditions. When traction fails, inertia takes over. In this case I was in the center lane, heading north on the freeway passing Forest Lake. The right lane there is exit-only, not where I was going. 40 MPH seemed quite sufficient for conditions, and most of the right lane agreed with me.

The left lane, however, was reserved for more optimistic (a.k.a foolish) drivers. One was just getting ready to pass me at about 50, and just as it approached my front bumper, started to skid. I was instantly white knuckling the wheel, trying to keep an eye on the skidder while slowing and checking out right lane escape options. There was an opening, with one car ahead of "my" space and one behind, though the one behind was fairly close. I hoped he/she was paying attention, or if not yet had been alerted by my tapping of the brakes a couple times, because I was sliding over into about a quarter of that lane. On purpose, I might add.

Meanwhile the skidder was busy over-correcting, fishtailing his way into the concrete center median. He impacted twice, pieces flying off each time, and accomplishing a 180 between impacts. Fortunately, none of the flying pieces flew far enough to concern me, and I eased past and back into my lane to continue safely on my way. And yes, schadenfreude was definitely part of the trip, helping counter the very uncomfortable adrenaline rush.

This was before 9AM, and the rest of the day had the same road conditions, snowing or even sleeting the whole time. Before long 30 MPH was more the rule, where traffic wasn't actually stop/skid and go/skid, with cars in ditches and semis backing down slights slopes they weren't able to pull their rigs up. At the worst it took me an hour to go between 394 and 55 in the Plymouth/Wayzata area. I managed to complete a mere 5 runs the whole day, and of those, two went one direction and three the other, not 5 zig-zagging all over the place.

And lucky me, I get to go out and play on those roads again today!

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