Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I do not like driving in the dark anymore. Apparently for some of us the aging process includes "night blindness".
My employer allows workers to utilize flex time so we can set our own work schedules within certain guidelines. It gets dark very early up here in the forgotten land of Northern New York. By around 4:30 PM the long dismal shadows cast their dark blanket on the frozen tundra. Okay I'm exaggerating a little about the frozen tundra but this is the snow belt and the temperatures do dip into the subzero at times. So right now I am ending my workday at 4:oo so I can drive home before the light of day has completely faded into darkness. It sounds more than wimpy that I have begun to avoid night driving. I do it if I have to but the extent of it is now limited to familiar road ways near home.
I have experienced my fair share of white knuckle rides home during heavy snowfall and enjoyable it is not. I drive a Jeep Cherokee with four wheel drive which definitely helps keep me on the road but if it starts to snow really heavily and the visibility grows poor I slow down to 30 miles an hour so I don't end up in the ditch. Last year there were times when I was shaking by the time I slid into the driveway.
The other major danger is hitting a deer as they seem to enjoy bounding out of the woods without a cautious gaze to check if any machines are hurling toward them.It is prudent to focus peripheral vision along the roadsides for the telltale animal eyes. You know that expression "like a deer caught in the headlights!" People have actually been maimed and injured by flying deer carcasses landing on the hood of their vehicle smashing the windshield. I am not making this up nor exaggerating.
So here I am trying to drive home on the snow covered roads, slowing down to a cautious speed, vigilant in my quest to spot any stampeding deer when some yahoo in a large pickup truck decides he will try to pass me traveling 50 mph. Let 'em, as I spew a nasty epithet about their ancestry. I will lower my high beams as a courtesy and hope they have a safe trip home too.


underOvr (aka The U) said...

My friend,

Not once did I ever encounter deer in Chicago. The first thirty years of my life were spent ignorant that animals other than stray dogs and cats wandered across the road.

The next 19 years were spent in Texas where the only animals I saw as roadkill were armadillo, skunks and possums. There are plenty of deer in Texas. I base this on the many men and women who hunted and shared deer meat with me.

My very first winter in Virginia (1999) my car and a deer met. I had never seen a deer up close and personal. This one was quite large. Hitting a deer was frightening. Fortunately, only the car was damaged. The deer actually slid off my hood and ran into the darkness of the trees.

In ten years, I have seen more deer injured, dead or crossing highways and roads.

I too hate driving at night; high beam headlights and visual distance give me problems.

I'm glad you can depart the office before night comes.


Madame DeFarge said...

Slightly delayed by holidays, but happy new year to you.

Madame DeFarge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MilesPerHour said...

Youth is wasted on the young. I'm not wearing my reading glasses but if I hold this laptop far enough away I can see what I'm typing.

gaf85 said...

U, Yes, driving is often a challenging endeavor in the winter time up here in N. NY.

Madame, Glad to hear from you again. It sounds like you had quite an adventurous vacation!

Miles, Why didn't Darwin's Theory of Evolution include growing longer arms as our eyesight fades?