Diamonds to all those who heeded advice and stayed off the roads during this week’s winter weather. Presumably, this was facilitated by the growing ability to “work from home” thanks to the ever expanding internet, though the speed of accumulation Tuesday morning may have been daunting enough to make even the most determined traveler reconsider. It’s hard to drive anywhere when it takes hours to dig your car out. Traffic was light when it counted, reducing the chances of accidents and easing the job for road crews clearing the way.
Coal to anyone who went on the road and drove recklessly for the conditions. Four-wheel-drive vehicles can still get stuck in snow banks and slide on ice the same as two-wheel-drive cars, and regardless of what you drive, stopping distances grow longer when snow and slush carpet the roads. Refusing to adjust driving habits for bad weather is bad judgment. A boulder of coal to those who livestreamed their view online while driving. Such behavior is bad in the best of conditions; in a storm, it’s mindless.
Diamonds to all those who lent a helping hand, cleared a neighbor’s walk, pushed a car out of a rut, checked on an elderly acquaintance or in any way assisted others in getting through the storm. Overcoming a record snowfall is best done together, and there were ample examples of community spirit throughout the region. It’s heartening when a crisis brings out the best in people.
Coal to those who stopped shoveling at their property line when they still had energy and knew the person next door was elderly or infirm. Yes, this was a backbreaking snowfall requiring Herculean efforts to clean your own driveway and sidewalk, often leading to exhaustion before the thought of helping others crossed your mind. But even when you can’t do it all, it still pays to do what you can for others as well as yourself. You never know when you’ll be the one who could use a helping hand.
Diamonds to road crews, emergency management personnel and all those who had the tough task of actually tackling the snow directly. Yes, everyone knows roads and whole sections of towns that seemed neglected or messy, but the bottom line is this: On Tuesday the region got 20 inches and more of snow in a brief period, and yet by Thursday afternoon many roads — even those that had seemed miserable a day earlier — were clear of snow and drying in the sun. It was far from ideal, but management of this storm’s impact was, in the end, effective enough.
Coal to owners of properties — particularly business and commercial properties — who couldn’t be bothered to clear their walks, even after the storm was becoming a distant memory. And no, it isn’t sufficient to make sure the parking lots are open. There are still people who walk to a store or business, and more importantly, there are people who pass said store or business. Pedestrians should not have to trudge in knee-deep snow or, worse, venture onto the roadway to get past your place.