Is there winter etiquette too?
This winter has been snow-filled for many communities. We spend so much time digging our vehicles out of snow and driving through snow, slush and ice that we need to remember that other drivers are doing the same things. Tempers can escalate very easily when the weather is undesirable. Drivers stop thinking clearly because they’re late for work, tired or sore because of all the effort they give. Do you ever feel the same way?
We recently had a large dumping of snow and while I was taking my vehicle out of the parking space at the side of the road, my neighbour decided to move their vehicle away from the curb just ahead of me. That’s not normally a bad thing, but in this case, they just tried to pull away without shovelling their vehicle out of the snow. This got them stuck in the road, which stopped me from getting my vehicle moving along. More importantly, it stopped the driver who was already heading toward us along the road. Was that fair to the oncoming driver who was already on their way or for me since I had already shovelled my vehicle free from the snow? I’m a pretty patient guy, so I didn’t mind waiting, but was this an example of poor winter etiquette… or just frustration on his part?
The proper thing to do would have been to dig the vehicle out first, or reverse their vehicle back slightly so the moving vehicle could be on their way. Not only did they get stuck, they decided to leave their vehicle in the path delaying the travels of the moving vehicle and myself. I offered to help them dig their vehicle out or to push it back, but they refused my help. Did they care that we were being held up by their actions? Again, poor etiquette… or just frustration on their part?
Have you ever dug out a spot in the snow to park your vehicle in front of your home only to find your neighbour had taken that spot from you when you got home? That happened to me years ago when I always had to park my vehicle on the street in front of my home. I was in shock since the owner of the vehicle lived two houses away and the space in front of their house was still fully covered in snow. They “stole” my spot. What happened to manners? Once I parked my vehicle elsewhere, the owner of the vehicle happened to come outside. I approached them and calmly explained to them that I had spent a great deal of time to dig out a spot for my vehicle in front of my house. I tried very hard to keep my composure, and was glad I did because they apologized and never did it again.
Winter driving etiquette doesn’t only mean sharing the road politely with other drivers while you drive, it also includes the little things that can frustrate other drivers, including when you have to park. The hard work that it takes to survive as a driver in the winter needs to be respected by other drivers, no matter what season we’re in. This way, we can show proper winter driving etiquette…and show no frustration.