The sudden shock can take your breath away. You’re behind the wheel making your way down the road when suddenly — BOOM! A solid ball of hardened snow strikes your windshield.
It causes some drivers to slam on the brakes, some to swerve out of control and some to crash.
The culprits are often thrill-seeking kids who quickly run for cover after the ambush.
Drivers’ reactions are rarely pleasant and some even get out of their cars to pursue the young hurlers.
While that may not be the wisest thing to do, many can understand such a response.
Dennis Dooley certainly does.
In almost three decades as a cab driver, his car has been a target many times. Kids throwing objects at his car have caused dents, dings, cracked windshields and smashed windows.
“You pass by schools and they’re are always at it, throwing snowballs or rocks. … They don’t realize the damage they can cause,” said Dooley, who drives with CityWide cabs in St. John’s. “It’s really dangerous, and when there’s a passenger in the car, they get a fright, too.
“Parents have really got to talk to their kids (about the risks of throwing snowballs), because if not, they’re going to kill someone.”
A St. John’s cab driver was charged with assault Monday after he reportedly confronted a 15-year-old boy, who he believed had thrown a snowball at his car on Fleming Street. The cabbie allegedly punched the boy. The man’s name hasn’t been released yet, since he hasn’t yet appeared in court. It’s unknown for which company he drives.
Dooley said he has never assaulted anyone as a result of a snowball being thrown. But he points out the justice system protects children.
“They’ll let kids be kids, but it’s the driver who ends up suffering,” Dooley said. “Police can’t do anything to kids. They get off scot-free.”
However, police said Tuesday the investigation into Monday’s incident is continuing and charges are pending against the teen.
Const. Karen Didham said the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary receives hundreds of calls each winter of reports of snowball throwing at vehicles and property.
“The public need to be aware of the dangers in that, in particular with a moving vehicle,” she said.
“We don’t know how someone is going to react. … Someone may end up being seriously injured or even killed.”
She said the best things for drivers to do is get a description of the snowball throwers, pull over to the side of the road and call police.
“Once we receive a complaint we will send someone to investigate,” Didham said.