It was a case of laziness meeting opportunity. When Montreal got whacked with more than 25 centimetres of snow last week, most drivers cleared off their vehicles, but one contrarian went the other way. This person wiped a handful of snow off the windshield and jumped in the driver’s seat, rendering their automobile a giant rolling car igloo. Even by abysmally low standards, this driver went below and beyond dangerous irresponsibility. Like many such acts, it was caught on camera and quickly went viral on Tik Tok.
While the video is disturbing at first, it becomes more unsettling as time passes and the mind processes what it has seen. A sentient being (let’s call them the Abominable Snowcar) thought this was appropriate behaviour. This person believes it’s okay to drive a car entombed in ice and snow with zero visibility.
Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume sought to reconcile the existence of evil and suffering with an omnipotent, benevolent all-knowing God in his 18th-century book Dialogues concerning Natural Religion. He identified “The Problem of Evil,” which he attributed to the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341-270 BCE); it’s a conundrum the world’s greatest thinkers have grappled with for millennia. Hume asked:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then God is not omnipotent. Is God able, but not willing? Then God is malevolent. Is God both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is God neither able nor willing? Then why call God God?
Now, thanks to Montreal’s Abominable Snowcar, we have an answer. Evil exists because even an omnipotent, benevolent, all-knowing God could not have foreseen that a human being could be so lazy they can’t even bother to spend half a second swiping a jacketed arm across a snow-covered windscreen before hopping in their car and getting on with the rest of their day, which no doubt consisted of failing to open their eyes while walking and failing to remove food from its packaging before eating it.
The worst part about the Abominable Snowcar is that the driver more than likely had a snow brush, but was too lazy to open the trunk and remove it. Imagine being so lazy and irresponsible that you spend money on a snow brush, place it in your trunk with the intent to use it after snowfalls occur, recognize that the very weather conditions that led you to buy the snow brush in the first place have come to pass, yet elect to leave it unused in the trunk and instead remove a patch of snow the size of a 1980s personal-pan pizza from the windshield and drive. That is Olympic-level lethargy.
Drivers like the Abominable Snowcar can face fines for their negligence. In Ontario, you can be fined $110, in Alberta $115 and in Quebec up to $200. In British Columbia, you can be fined $109 for “driving with vision obstructed.” Of course, you don’t hear too much about drivers getting hit with fines. When they do, it makes the newspapers. In 2015, a Nova Scotia driver was fined $176 for driving with an obstruction on the windshield (that obstruction being an enormous amount of snow). In 2016, an 80-year-old Ontario man was fined for driving a vehicle that was almost completely engulfed in snow. He said he was too weak to clear it. An Ontario Provincial Police officer took care of it for him.
The Abominable Snowcar is on the extreme end of the anti-snow-clearing contingent. Most snow-clearing scofflaws make an effort, albeit small, to at least give the impression they tried to clear some icy precipitation away.
Defrosters clear the snow but won’t scrape the ice. Instead, defrosters turn on their vehicle, turn the defroster to super max and try to subdue the cold and snow by blowing heat from the ventilation system onto the windshield. It’s a slow process that hardly ever works.
Others decide they don’t need to see the entire road, just half of it. They clear the snow and ice from the windshield on the driver’s side and leave the rest untouched. Some drivers clear the windshield, but leave the rear windscreen and all the passenger windows caked in ice and snow. A little farther up the scale, we have drivers who clear their windscreen and all the windows, but leave an enormous dollop of snow on top of their cars, which avalanches down onto the windscreen every time they come to a stop.
Clearing an automobile of snow and ice after the Winter Gods have thrown their wrath upon the Earth is not fun. It’s cold but important work. If it seems like too much effort to ensure that you can see the road you are driving upon, perhaps you should reconsider your plans. Put down your keys, take off your boots, put on the kettle and clear a spot on the nearest couch. Then you can look out a window and watch everyone else clearing off their automobiles.