Tuesday, December 15, 2015

No logical explanation

Yesterday morning, folks here in Lincoln awoke to a couple inches of fresh snow. I was up early, watching the big flakes fall in the still darkness. It was beautiful, but from lots of past experience, I knew it would be wise to get an early start on my day: avoid the traffic, head to the office, and watch the chaos of the morning commute unfold.

The roads were slick in my subdivision, but merely wet and slushy once I hit arterials. I arrived at the office without a problem, but still expected Armageddon: it just doesn't take much to make the pending dispatch screen explode with collisions. Sometimes just a little rain will do it, and the first significant snow of the year seemed certain, despite the fact that it was more wet than slick.

The trouble, however, never emerged. We ended the day with 22 traffic crashes, which is just slightly below the daily average. Interestingly, five days ago, on December 10th the weather was beautiful. It was sunny, calm, and the high hit 62 degrees--very unusual for Lincoln in mid-December. About half way through the day I noticed that we were logging quite a few crashes, and sent out a tweet about that fact. We ended the day on December 10th with 38 crashes, far above the average of 23.

Perfect weather, crashes abound. First snowfall of note, all is well. There's no logical explanation for that, but we should take it while we can get it. I can assure you that we'll have our days of 78, 98, or 123 traffic crashes ahead. Anyone remember December, 2009?


Steve said...

I think a lot of people thought it was worse than it really was; therefore, they drove with more caution than usual.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes I remember December 1, 2009 very well. I had to move into a new apartment that day. It was a fantastic morning when I awoke. Sixty degrees almost around lunch time but a Winter Storm advisory was on TV. I rode my motorcycle over before it got dark and parked it in the apartment garage. Other than unpacking the move was done. Next morning there was about one foot of wet snow on the ground and it was after Christmas before I rode the motorcycle again. Two things I need to survive winters in Nebraska are a good supply of reading materials and at least a one month supply of Hot Chocolate. Thankfully I had both on hand that time.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Every year, a higher percentage of vehicles have ABS, skid control, and traction control. This also applies to the hand-me-down rides most high-schoolers drive.

Tom Casady said...


That's absolutely true, as I've noted before. This same phenomenon--older vehicles aging out of the fleet and being replaced with newer more advanced models--is undoubtedly at work in the decline in auto theft, as well.

Anonymous said...

Then there’s another thing that happens all year long, but really seems to ramp up during colder weather: Auto theft carelessly enabled by ditzes who leave their keys in their unlocked car. Immobilizer ignition! Hard to steal!

Unless, of course, the keys are right there in the car.

I suppose there are various excuses for this. The key is too huge and heavy to carry with them. Their battery is weak and these short trips just kill it faster if they shut it off. Their car is cold and it can warm up while they run inside the store or a friend’s home. They ran outside to start it and warm up the interior - because they are chronically late to everything and have to finish getting ready. This outfit makes me look great at work but is too light to keep me warm before the heat kicks in. They have a $30,000 car yet no hat, gloves, or parka. The dumb reasons are endless.

An off-duty LPD officer even did this a few years back, on a snowy day, and had their new black Camry (running and unlocked) boosted from in front of a relative’s home by a Professional Transient(TM). The officer was dropping off their child on the way to work. Car recovered, unharmed, shortly thereafter, but you have to think that if anyone should know better, it’s a cop. Yeah, they were only going to be away for just a minute! Zoom…there it goes!

Ability, desire, opportunity. Crooks will always have the desire to steal, but it’s unwise to carelessly provide the ability and the opportunity.

It would be interesting to see a graph with key-in-car auto thefts by month over a year.

Steve said...

Anon 10:02

You can complain all you want, but if I want to leave my car running in my driveway, or the street (parked), or anywhere else I have a legal right to do so, it's my business, not yours. It's not illegal. I don't need an excuse, though I'm sure there are many reasons that even you, in your infinite wisdom, did not list. What is illegal is stealing cars, whether they are running or not. That is the crime. Save your vitriol for the criminals.

I am fortunate enough to have a remote starter, so I can warm up my vehicle without even going outside to start it. It is still locked, and no key is in the ignition. It would die if someone broke in and tried to drive it away without a key. Not everyone can afford this luxury.

I think most people are smart enough to know it is a risk to leave their car running with the keys inside. It is a risk they choose to take, for whatever reason. It doesn't mean they're stupid. It doesn't make them criminals. And, it's no skin off your nose if their car gets stolen, so why berate them?