Friday was an interesting experience. I have an all-wheel-drive car, albeit with a rather low ground clearance. Yet, the combination of a good vehicle, years of snow driving experience, the lack of other traffic and luck got me to where I needed to go without getting stuck on the unplowed roads in our neighborhood, even though the snow was higher than the bottom of my car. The county sheriff put out a notice later in the day suggesting that if one did not have to be on the roads, don't be. He was right!
Yesterday morning I was pleasantly surprised to learn the governor banned certain high profile vehicles from the Thruway for the duration of the storm. There was a good reason given for "the ruling." Plows needed to be able to do their work without competition from various conveyances. In order to keep things moving, there was a need to live with some restrictions to the usual freedom of travel.
I'm quite sure there many drivers who received a formal reminder from the State Patrol that they were not supposed to have been out driving. I can understand why they were confident being on the road. (I learned to drive in a rear-wheel drive car during a Detroit winter.) It's easy enough to say, "I know what I'm doing. Do not tell me I can't drive where I want."
While doing "what I feel confident in doing" appeals to our American posture of personal freedom, in an absolute sense, it is the start of anarchy. Being part of a society means accepting limitations on certain activities for the good of the many. There are times when it might feel a bit restrictive, but limits make sense when we consider the alternative. Our lives, as we live them, would not last too long if everyone had absolute freedom to act independently at all times. Our society depends on recognizing that others have rights, that it's in our mutual interest to make space for them. That's the case for driving, speech, trade ... and gun safety.
Simply put, we cannot behave as if we are the only people on the road, in the city or in the world.