Thursday, July 30, 2015
Doofus Of The Day #848
Courtesy of Wirecutter:
Miss D.'s going to laugh when she sees that. She tells me that in Alaska, which she still regards as 'home', it gets too cold in winter for the roads to be salted to melt ice and snow. Instead, the Anchorage municipality scrapes away what snow it can, then layers fine gravel and dirt on the ice. By spring the city has up to a foot or more of an ice/gravel/mud mix on the roads, and as the ice melts the muck gets all over everything. (I remember noticing that while I was flying up to Anchorage to court her. I couldn't figure out, until she told me, why there was so much crud on the roads, and why most vehicles had a mud-brown tide mark halfway up their doors!)
Anyway, what that means in winter is that the roads are permanently hazardous (most drivers up there use studded tires, or something like Blizzaks or the equivalent). She says with a grin that when some idiot comes flying past you in Anchorage in mid-winter, you simply sit back and smile, knowing that within a mile or two you'll pass him upside-down in a ditch, or spun out in the central median, or having met some other unkind fate thanks to his careless driving. I noticed, too, that there are a lot of tow trucks making a circuit of the city on all the major roads. Miss D. informed me that as soon as they see someone in a ditch, they stop and offer a quick tow back onto the road for a flat fee in cash (it was $60 when I visited). If the driver has any sense, he'll hand it over and be on his way again in five minutes. If he doesn't, he can wait for his insurance to send a driver, and pay a lot more than $60 (as well as have his premiums increase). Needless to say, the tow trucks do a roaring trade during winter. (Apparently in summer their drivers mostly switch to lawn care and garden services for three or four months, until the snow and ice return. A man does what he can to make a living in the frozen North.)
I think the doofus depicted in the pictures above would probably make a lot of Anchorage drivers smile, and a lot of Anchorage tow truck operators very wealthy!