By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – When this storm ends, whatever you do, don’t be “that guy.”

In this case, “that guy” – or woman – is the driver who dug their car out, cleared a jelly donut-sized hole in front of the steering wheel to peer out of, and is happily tooling around the streets with snow and ice covering the windows and a full load on the roof and trunk.

In other words, a homicidal/suicidal maniac.

I’ve been ranting about this nasty habit. Too many of us have for years, and judging from the response I get most of you feel the same way. But all the scolding and shaming and the threat of a $200 fine for “driving with an unsecured load” doesn’t seem to deter enough of the scofflaws to prevent the crashes, injuries and deaths that inevitably occur as a result.

Maybe there’s no hope. The sight of complete idiots proudly parading around during a pandemic without masks on brings home the grim reality that some people just don’t get it and never will.

But I’m going to do my Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm impersonation and give folks the benefit of the doubt. So let’s as calmly as possible address the excuses people give for failing to take this minimal safety precaution:

  • I didn’t know I had to. OK, you have to. It’s the law. The cops can give you a $40 ticket for impeded operation or that $200 fine. If/when the snow and ice hurtle from your vehicle and cause a crash or injury, all sorts of civil and criminal liability come into play. So, you do the math – shell out big fine payments and expose yourself to worse, or buy a $15 snow brush and do the right thing.
  • I’m elderly/disabled/otherwise physically unable to do it. OK, that’s a valid reason. But the privilege of operating your vehicle comes with this responsibility. Ask a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger passing by for help. When you ignore the situation you are still a menace, to yourself and others.
  • My car is so big, it’s hard to reach the roof. Sorry, not a legit excuse. Telescoping brushes that can handle the job are readily available. Open the doors and climb onto the running board to reach. Or get a taller person to help you. Rocket science, it isn’t.
  • Oh for gosh sakes, the sun’s out now and it’ll just melt away. Ah yes, the old “wait for spring” mentality. Sorry, no dice. Plus I heard Eric Fisher say everything is going to freeze solid tonight and temps will stay cold, so unless you’re planning on abstaining from any driving until the next thaw, get it done.

I don’t like being the bad cop. Hey, even the cops would prefer not to have to police this kind of selfish, ignorant behavior.

But I’m going to keep ranting about this, and looking for scofflaws to take pictures of, until we go an entire winter without an ugly incident.

Jon Keller