NASCAR’s favorite son and driving god Dale Earnhardt Jr. accidentally tapped a tree after a snowstorm that blasted parts of North Carolina. He said he tapped the tree because he was going a bit fast, but consider this, southerners: if Dale Jr. is struggling to keep it under control, maybe it’s not the best time to go out.
Shortly after stopping to be a good samaritan in his truck to help winch a Cadillac out of the ditch, Earnhardt says he got caught out by the snow himself, hitting his winch on a tree while driving too fast.
Earnhardt said he was “being a bit of a fool” when he scratched his winch up, driving too fast for the conditions. Still, that means even a two-time Daytona 500 winner had what I’d probably describe as a crash even though it just sounds like a truck-on-tree deal. As in, here’s a guy who can hold a stock car under control at 200 mph getting tripped up by snow.
Maybe this will help him out when he commentates on the Winter Olympics this year.
Those of you who reside in Hoth-grade frozen hellscapes are probably laughing at Dale Jr. right now for scratching his winch up, but maybe you shouldn’t. Earnhardt was in North Carolina’s Piedmont region, which rarely sees snow, according to Sporting News.
That’s the rub. When your area doesn’t see snow very often, it doesn’t make sense to keep all the extra stuff around to salt down or plow all the roads. Thus, most non-major roads get left largely alone, as it’s easier to just give people the rare snow day off and wait for it to melt.
Sure: if you go slow enough and drive to the conditions, you’ll be fine. I’ve gotten stuck out in snow and ice on summer tires here in Texas before because we don’t believe in winter, and made it home okay. Avoid the iced-over overpasses as much as you can, go slow enough to keep it under control, and you’ll probably be fine.
I’ll be honest, though: it sucks. You’ll likely slide a bit despite your best efforts not to because there’s not much for your all-seasons-at-best to grip to. Plus, it’s mentally exhausting because no one else on the road has much experience driving in snow, either. Avoiding all of them also sucks.
So maybe—just maybe—if you like your car and you don’t have to go anywhere, you should stay home if you’re in a place like the Piedmont. Yes, even you, I Used To Live In Winnipeg Guy. Just don’t even try it unless you absolutely have to. Give up! Get cozy at home! Do you want to find yourself between the cars who slide into the ditch and that ditch? No. No, you do not.
Besides, we can’t laugh at Junior’s pain too much. After his incident, he went right back to helping other folks out in the snow.
Others certainly appreciated Dale’s diligence as well.
But do heed his advice.