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.