Fact: more than an inch of snow fell in Sioux Falls on Monday December 4. However, some motorists continue as if nothing ever happened on the morning after.

Granted, a good number of drivers are constantly in a hurry. For those who are willing to accept some friendly advice it could go a long way toward avoiding a crash.

When street surface temperatures are above freezing when the precipitation starts, there is a compounding effect when an abrupt change in temperature and wind causes the roads to freeze. A significant ice condition was the result on many thoroughfares which is harder to clear up than just snow.

A slower go was part of my morning commute, though one interaction does stand out. Heading east on 57th Street over the I-29 bridge, I noted my speed was slightly above the posted 40 miles per hour, but there wasn’t a lot of traffic at the time so I coasted to get below the limit because the surface was slippery. The car to my left continued above the speed limit toward Solberg, but a car came out of the Good Samaritan driveway and turned left to go east.

The driver to my left in the other lane did not have to take evasive maneuvers or go hard on the brakes to avoid collision. Nonetheless the driver got irate and honked at the offending driver for breaking momentum.

Remember the scene in Top Gun when the pilots are doing the debrief session? You be Maverick and I’ll be Goose (There’s two o’s in Goose) and someone else can be Charlie the consultant.

Let’s look at what’s wrong here. 1) Overdriving the conditions on 57th Street. I realized that my rate of speed was excessive so I slowed. Even watching the events unfold in front of me, I got on the brakes to further diminish my speed even though the action was in the other lane because a two-car pile-up doesn’t have to be three if I can help it. Going 45 on a street with suspect traction is already pressing your luck so blasting someone else for making you slow down is just ridiculous. 2) Not being able to launch from a full stop to match the speed of traffic. If someone has to radically decrease their speed because you are entering the traffic flow, then you carry some burden. There was no time to look at the street surface at that intersection to verify first-hand, but very likely traction was limited with little chance of proper acceleration.

Philosophers have long opined that if you don’t learn from the past, future mistakes in the same vein will be inevitable. Please use this bit of wisdom if you can next time you get behind the wheel. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

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