Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Rules Are In Effect

After driving through a raging snowstorm in the Fox Valley last week Thursday and seeing the antics of Madison drivers this weekend, I have decided (in the spirit of Bill Maher) to declare a NEW RULE: only fully winter-qualified drivers will be allowed on Wisconsin roads from November 1st through March 31st.

The fully winter-qualified drivers would have to pass a winter driving test, to be developed by a panel of experts from the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Wisconsin Transportation Department. To be fully winter-qualified, any driver who wishes to operate a motor vehicle on Wisconsin roads in winter will have to pass a behind-the-wheel test, also to be administered by the state Transportation Department, just like you have to pass a test to get a motorcycle operator license – thereby creating many, many more government jobs.

Fully-qualified winter drivers would be issued a distinctive Wisconsin Drivers License, and would be issued special license plates with a large “W” as the last character of the plate. (i.e. my wife, who would pass any such test, would get plates “805-FGK-W” on her Hemi-equipped racing vehicle). Drivers and vehicles would have to qualify. In other words, if I passed this test in my giant gas-sucking all-wheel-drive foreign-made SUV, I’d get the “W” on my plates and would be issued the fully-winter-qualified drivers license specific to vehicle type.

Similar to aviation, the fully-qualified-winter drivers license would state clearly the vehicle or vehicles you were qualified to operate during winter. If I wanted to drive my wife’s Dodge Magnum Hemi, I’d have to qualify in that vehicle. Otherwise, I’d only be qualified to drive my giant SUV. Just as pilot’s licenses work, a pilot qualified on a Cessna 182 can’t fly a Boeing 747 – unless said pilot qualifies for a 747 with the appropriate license type (rating), training, and a check-flight.

This would prevent wanna-be cowboys who own (and qualify in) a Toyota Camry from jumping into an all-wheel-drive Ford F-150 (or Jeep Grand Cherokee or any other AWD vehicle) and thinking they’re invincible on snow and ice, and thereby endangering the rest of the motoring public.

I like my idea. It creates a whole bunch of middle-class-supporting government jobs (sorry, Scott Walker); it makes good winter drivers confident that they won’t get run off the road by some rank unqualified amateur; and, with appropriately stiff penalties for failure to qualify, it would be a huge deterrent to the aforementioned amateurs, who have no business on snowy or icy roads.


  1. I think Darwin's law is cheaper, albeit not quite as fast.

  2. The real drawback under the natural-selection approach is that the good drivers must share the road with the doofuses until the Great Leveling takes effect, and the good ones (who quite possibly are good drivers because they are conscientious) are at risk.

    It's a better idea to deal with the problem up front. That's why God invented government intervention.

    The education/endorsement program could be funded by hefty surcharges on driver's licenses (let's start the bidding at $1k) for those who have not completed certified winter-driving courses. (Call 'em crash courses?)

    The educated motorists would pay no surcharge, or a considerably reduced one (because we're creating state jobs here, and the program has to be funded somehow). The charge for the educated would be kept low if they participate in continuing education or advanced training - which might include techniques for using chains, de-icing techniques and properly securing a dead deer to your car.

    This angle of attack would screw up our blogger's elegant license-plate identification system, which would add a big dubya to the end of the tag number. It would also militate against some schnaapsed-up lead-footed snowmobile commander getting into a car with big-dubya tags and roaring off into the teeth of an Alberta Clipper along 12/14, under the unauthorized protection of the empowering letter.

    Maybe something like those handicap/wheelchair mirror tags would work. Or the state could identify qualified operators by issuing blaze orange squirrel tails attached to cords, to be flown from the driver's window.

    BTW ... Barry Orton knows a good idea when he sees one: