Beltway Blizzard Bumper Cars
On a day when DC area schools are shut down for miles in each direction because of something on the order of one inch of snow, Stacy McCain reflects on the phenomenon of “Beltway blizzard bumper cars.”
Ignoring common cautions most Americans learned as 15-year-olds — e.g., always check your blind spot before changing lanes to your right — D.C. drivers crash with astonishing frequency, a persistent problem that peaks during periods of precipitation. A brief shower is sure to result in dozens of traffic tie-ups caused by morons fishtailing into guardrails, and snow sends the region spiraling into vehicular paralysis.
The Beltway media establishment panders shamelessly to Washington’s fear of snow. Days before the arrival of potential snowstorms, TV stations in the nation’s capital begin broadcasting dire declarations of impending doom. “Storm Watch” logos appear on the screen, as TV weathermen trade snow banter with blow-dried anchorpersons, engaging in what can only be described as “accumulation speculation.” Will the snow melt or stick? How many inches? Will it be bad enough to close schools? Is the apocalypse at hand?
This isn’t entirely a Beltway phenomenon, of course; most of the Deep South goes into similar panic over the threat of modest snow. Then again, at least people down there know how to drive in the rain. And I darn sure never heard of “sun delays” until moving to these parts.