I just spent a pleasant few hours watching YouTube videos of horribly inept drivers (not) coping with winter weather. It caused me to wax nostalgic.
During my years at IBM, I had the good fortune to be paired with a grizzled old-timer named Dave Boyd. Dave, by then, had over 30 years as an IBM employee, many of those in 'systems' having written the first AutoCoder syllabus and then taught the first AutoCoder class. He was a true 'Renaissance Man', and it would not surprise me one bit if he actually fit Robert A. Heinlein's definition:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Among many other things, he was a 'German car nut', owning, at one point, a 2L Porsche 914, a 1.8L Porsche 914, a Porsche 356 that he had lovingly restored to showroom condition, a BMW 2002, and a Volkswagen. He used the 914s to race gymkana on frozen Lake Winnipesaukee NH each winter, and cherished his nickname, 'Iceman'.
He taught me many valuable lessons, not the least of these being 'how to drive in winter'. One day he asked me "What steers a car?" and I replied "The steering wheel, of course!" Dave smiled as he shook his head side to side. "No, the rolling wheels steer the car. A wheel that isn't rolling is either stopped or sliding." I was reminded of that as I watched cars from Michigan to Arkansas zipping down icy hills, all four wheels locked-in-place and careening into other cars, some moving, some not.
Mr. Miyagi advised Daniel-San
Best brock is 'no be dere'
and the best way to avoid crashing into another car because of icy conditions is to stay home that day, but if you must be behind the wheel on a snowy or sleety day, remember this: when you press down on the brake pedal, you stop the wheels from rolling and you stop them from steering, but you don't overrule Newton's First Law: an object in motion tends to remain in motion.
The same lesson applies when you're going through a tight turn on dry pavement: if you step on the brake pedal, you have just offered to pay whatever penalty the laws of physics charge.
Only the rolling wheels can steer a car.