Driving in the snow can be stressful and intimidating. I must drive from Golden to Boulder (Colorado) every day to get to work and back. Normally it's a 40-50 minute drive, but in bad conditions it can take two hours. The highway I drive is state highway 93, which is only two lanes total most of the way, with a few annoyingly short passing sections. Due to its two lane nature I must deal with quite a bit of tailgating myself.

In good conditions, I drive faster than the average person. My el-cheapo Ford Escort handles great in good weather and is almost fun to drive in the twisty sections that make up the Front Range Highway. There are some downhill sections that allow me to reach high speeds with relative ease, making the car seem faster and ever slightly more fun to drive. There is often quite a barrage of wind (one permanent sign halfway through simply says "Gusty Winds May Exist") blowing, but in my low-profile Escort, it's barely noticeable. I've driven it in a Ford Explorer many times as well, and I feel much safer and confident in the Escort, in good weather or bad.

For the same reasons that it is an enjoyable drive in good weather, it sucks badly in poor weather conditions. The twisty downhill parts are terrifying. Where I could otherwise drive 65 and slam the brakes at the last minute during the curve if necessary, I must now drive 25 and approach the curve slowing down to 10 or 15mph, using the brakes before actually making the curve, as exemplified by heropsychodreamer's writeup. If the conditions are bad enough there may be a mile of traffic slowly coasting downhill, one car at a time, barely moving, sometimes so slowly that the speedometer doesn't even register it. During one occasion I slowly had to pump my brakes down a normally gentle curve that was just covered in pure ice and fresh snow. It was terrifying; I took it extremely slowly, so the car behind me started to pass me (illegally) and skidded way out of control, much to my amusement, front wheels a-locking. Luckily, they didn't quite roll off of the curve to the gentle hill below, but they sure came close.

I find that dealing with tailgaters is the primary problem when you want to drive safely. Sometimes I feel like I'm being forced into speeding by peer pressure, but it's far worse when it's bad weather and you know you can't go any faster, mainly because there is curve after curve approaching, and visibility is nearly zero. One time I was actually told to "Get off the road" by someone in a Suburban who ended up going a whole 4-5mph faster than I; I didn't, of course, but I wished him dead and sent bad Satanic vibes in his direction... Generally I drive 65-75mph in good weather, if it's bad enough I'll drive 15-35, usually 25 on average. Tough shit for the 5000lb Ford Expedition that wants to drive on the shoulder to pass all of the people inching down the rather scary downhill slope with a curve at the very end. If there's room, I'll make the gesture of moving to the side of the road to let people pass me, if they're especially obnoxious. Then I laugh as they storm ahead and find themselves behind another intelligent driver a city block ahead.

Every day after a bad snow I see cars in the ditch, often SUVs, and often Subarus, probably driven by (as I imagine them) over-confident yuppies that think four wheel drive makes it safe to go the speed limit when driving on two inches of snowpack. This gives me the strength to shake off absurd vehicular harassment that I can expect to experience again during the next storm. Usually I will simply call in and say "fuck this" if it's too bad, and so far my employer has been flexible. I don't like risking my life unnecessarily, especially if all I get in return is a day of work followed by another potentially fun drive on the way home! Unfortunately with my luck the weather always comes in during work, just in time to sabotage the ride home, giving me no choice but to drive. It feels like getting on a rollercoaster...