gwen (gwenix) wrote,

"But I'm from where there's REAL snow! You wimps!"

I've lived in Utah and California, to be on either extreme of this discussion.

In Utah, the snow started in October, and by December the roads were made from indentations in the snow. Driving was somewhat like skiing. I actually learned how to drive while in Utah, so I got a very good primer on snow driving.

In California, if snow is witnessed in the sky, there's a cold panic. Er, no pun intended.

Now I'm back in Pittsburgh, and I remember the Utahns who'd lived in Pittsburgh making fun of our lack of driving skills in snow. I also know that the Yinzers make fun of California, Atlanta, etc for shutting down if snow is even mentioned. It's a wonderful chain of superiority complexes.

But, allow me to point out: snow begets snow preparedness. We are prepared for the average amount of snow that we get, for any location that we live in. Trying to compare Utah to California is just insane; and it's just as insane to compare Pittsburgh to either, or even to Erie.


1) Money. Why buy too much salt? More plows than we need? Over-employ people to plow? We could, of course, stay prepared for the worst case scenario... but then we'd be paying for it the rest of the year. I'm pretty sure that if we *were* to do this, everyone in Pittsburgh would complain about their taxes going up.

2) Test cases. OK, so we're making a lot of fun of the Mayor for not having a good plan for snow removal. I will grant you that I don't think much of him, but I am willing to forgive him in this case. Realize that he was given a plan frought with nepotism (Murphy had scheduled the main plowing for his home district), decided after the last disastor two years ago to change it, and until now his new plan has worked reasonably well... but no storm has been close to this magnitude in that time either. How, really, do you build plans without the ability to test them?

3) Preparation. In Utah, everyone knew it'd snow all winter, so they owned vehicles that were built for this. Everyone either had a truck, early SUV prototype (yes, it was that long ago), or kept chains in their cars. I even remember when Pittsburgh got snow more consistently, we also kept chains for the tires, and bricks for the weight. In Utah, you also kept a shovel in the car in case you had to dig out some traction for the tires. How many of you yinzers have any of these now? Hell, I didn't even have a snow shovel for my walk.

4) Experience. We aren't driving in snow that much these days, so we forget how. We also forget our limitations (that steep hill covered in snow and ice and our honda civic with summer tires? Yah, perhaps we shouldn't go up it). We forget how to handle the car when it does start to slide around. We forget that traction involves keeping the tires moving slowly over the snow, not causing them to spin. So people are doing things they probably shouldn't, and getting their cars stuck all over... which is making it harder for the plows/emergency vehicles/buses/etc to do their jobs.

So, really, please keep your egotism about where you're from out of my snow emergency. Where you're from had a different set of needs, and your bragging is actually harming our needs by encouraging people to prove they're better than that ... and then getting their unprepared car stuck on a hill.
Tags: snow pittsburgh
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