Why Are We Such Bad Drivers in Snow?

Sunday's snowfall piqued the curiosity of a local blogger.

St. Paul may be the seat of King Boreas, lord of wind and winter, but that doesn't stop Minneapolis drivers from becoming terrible drivers every time it snows.

Part of the problem, of course, is pure physics. Slippery roads can make for sliding cars. Sunday's snow

But what about the human factor? Could there be something that happens to local motorists that exacerbates the situation? That question piqued the curiosity of David Levinson, a University of Minnesota professor and blogger at Streets.MN.

Mining academic research on driver behavior, Levinson came up with a pithy—if quick-and-dirty—analysis of the issue.

"So I wouldn’t say we become bad drivers," he writes. "We are bad drivers, we just reveal it when the environment changes to the unexpected."

Read the rest—including the details behind his argument—at Streets.MN.

Rachel Powell January 29, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Having moved here from CA and seeing the difference between how people out here drive and how people in CA drive, I have to agree. Minnesotans are terrible drivers. They don't "get" Yield signs or just choose to ignore them. They don't use their blinkers, and when I do, whoever is in the next lane speeds up to make sure I don't DARE change lanes in front of THEM. We were at first stunned by what we considered the incredible aggression and seeming stupiidity we saw daily on the roads. After 17 years out here, I have to admit we fitt in much better with MN drivers by being as aggressive as other drivers, and we never signal our lane changes because we know we can't let people know our intents. Maybe not the best solution, but when in MN, drive like one. Also, we think it's funny when we see SUVs driving like maniacs on snowy roads BECAUSE THEY CAN, then seeing them stuck in a pile of snow on the side of the road farther up. Common sense seems to be lacking in drivers here.
James Sanna January 29, 2013 at 02:46 PM
RE: MN drivers' skills - I agree with you, and I grew up and learned to drive in Boston!
CHDaggett January 29, 2013 at 03:55 PM
I grew up in MN and also have to agree - forget any notion of 'Minnesotat Nice' once behind the wheel of a car. I've done road trips through many other states and hands down MN drivers are consistently the worst I've encountered. Even in NYC where the traffic is clearly much heavier. In addition to all the point Rachel made is the refusal of MN drivers to turn on their headlights. Attitude seems to be "Well, I can see clearly, so why should I" - they just do not get how much more visible it makes them to other drivers, and therefore makes the highways much safer.


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