Illustration: Driving in Rain by Tookapic (Standard Pexels License)
The Israel Meteorological Service has determined that last month was the seventh driest November in the last 80 years. As noted by Yaakov Consor, of the Israel Winter Weather group, there was a persistent blocking high pressure system located over Greenland. The high is part of a pattern stretching from Greenland to the subtropics "known as a negative NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation), [that] typically favors a trough of low pressure over northern and western Europe and a corresponding ridge of high pressure over southeastern Europe, bringing warmer and drier than usual weather to Israel."
However, since December began, the pattern has gradually changed to a positive NAO. A ridge of high pressure has built over northwestern Europe, allowing storm systems and winter chill to drop further south over eastern Europe and into the eastern Mediterranean. We expect this pattern to continue for the next two weeks, bringing our first "real" winter rains this week, from last Sunday night into Tuesday and again from Wednesday into Thursday, with showers and chilly, damp weather continuing to the end of the third week of December.
That's good news because — as you all know — we need the rain. At the same time, folks are reminded to slow down and drive with greater distance between cars, to prevent accidents.
But these car "accidents" are a strange thing. Why? Well, we have had (but not recently) an unfortunate number of accidents that were not accidents at all. One left two teens severely injured, and happened on the road outside my town when a Palestinian driver ran them over. More recently, an 18-year-old Israeli Arab crashed his speeding car into a family, killing the mother and her three week old baby. One wonders, if this was also a terrorist attack.
We don't really know if the last was or was not a terrorist attack, but the result was the same. When a terrorist kills someone, the secret service, police, and army are mobilized to find the person or persons responsible.
Yet, when someone kills someone in an "accident” on the road, that person can become just another statistic (both the dead and undead). Indeed over the last several years — if not decades — more than 3,000 Israelis were killed in road accidents, while 146 died in terrorist attacks.
There are more than 20 times the number of people killed by fellow Israelis on the roads than killed by our Palestinian neighbors! Are drivers who drive without concern for their fellow drivers not just as bad? Aren't they ‘Road Terrorists’?
If you don't want to be a Road Terrorist, remember the simple rules of driving safety. Do leave one car length between you and the car in front of you for every 15 km/h of speed at which you’re driving; do slow down when it's raining; do keep your eyes on the road; and when you stop, leave room to maneuver, and look in your rear view mirror to make sure someone is not about to run into you. This saved me twice from being rear-ended!
Don't pass on the right lane or in a left turning lane; don't text while driving; don't read your phone or dial your phone; don't weave in and out; and don't tailgate.
I'd also like to suggest that our police stop standing on corners and at stoplights to give out tickets, and get out on the roads, where dangerous driving occurs. In summary — be courteous of other drivers. Don't be a “Road Terrorist”.
Dr. Lynn is a lecturer at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Earth Sciences Department. He is also CEO of Weather It Is, LTD, a company that specializes in reducing weather risk. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.