January 5, 2011 2:53 PM | By David Booth for MSN Autos

People! Use your heads and use winter tires!

David Booth

David Booth in The Fast Lane

First snowfall of the year and everyone forgets how to drive.

First snowfall of the year and everyone forgets how to drive.

People are so f%&$#%g stupid.

I know. I know. I've lost more than a few of you for having resorted to a cheap expletive-should-have-been-deleted in print. I apologize. Profusely. It's the first time I've gone so flagrantly afoul in 28 years of automotive journalism. It's just that I feel so helpless and adjectivally-challenged since moronic, imbecilic and asinine don't even begin to capture the sheer stupidity of Canadian - OK, Torontonian - drivers.

I just got back from my gym. It took me no less than an hour and quarter for a sojourn that normally takes but 20 minutes. It was 9:00 p.m. for gosh-darn sakes (please note, all who were offended by the previous perverse paragraph, that I have now cleaned up my act), a time when even Canada's answer to the traffic jam usually motors along.

But it had just snowed. And for the first time this season. So people were, shall we, in the spirit of my newfound temperance, say, just a little more timid. Well, actually, they were, as with almost every first snowfall of the year, well and truly panicked. It's as they forget they're Canadian, that we are called the Great White Frozen North for a reason and that, yes, about this time every year our roads, get covered with slippery white stuff.

Traffic normally speeding along in the 401's fast lane had slowed to a crawl. The slow lane looked like a parking lot at a Wal-Mart on Two-'Fer Tuesdays. And you could have parked your car in the middle of Sheppard Avenue, gone to Burger Hut for a cheese melt with fries, meandered over to the convenience store next door for a rental movie and still not lost your spot in the traffic jam. Young and old, men and women, experienced drivers and novices; regardless of race, creed or denomination the entire city acted like it was seeing snowflakes for the very first time.

Winter tires

Winter tires: Use 'em. Please.

There was, however, one common denominator. Most, if not virtually all, of the cars were riding on all-season tires. Yup, once again, despite the falling of the leaves, the plummeting of the mercury and what one local clothing shop assured was a "run" on Canada Goose down-filled jackets (hence the astronomical price he wanted), we are woefully unprepared for winter driving.

Most egregiously guilty are owners of rear-wheel-drive luxury sedans and sports cars. Here's a message to all you wankers (oops, did I slip up again?); I don't care if your Fancy Dan electronic traction control system with a 64-bit microprocessor "assures superior traction in all circumstances." If your hot-rod drives only the rear wheels and your tires don't have a mountain with a snow flake carved into their sidewall, you're not making it up the snow-slathered hill that paralyzed traffic right outside my house last night.

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