When Weather Gets Bad, People Get Stupid

When Weather Gets Bad, People Get Stupid

When Weather Gets Bad, People Get Stupid

Bad weather is on the horizon. Another storm is coming. There are predictions of snow. Possibly heavy. Why is it that Every Single Time there is a prediction of bad weather, people seem to get stupid?

Having lived in several parts of the country, I have observed this phenomenon ‘everywhere’, and I have seen it again recently…

This stupid behavior occurs even in regions that should be well accustomed to their own types of bad weather. So why is it that an apparent constant percentage of people seem to lose their minds prior to the onset of bad weather?

My opinion is that it is a reflection of the percentage of people who regardless of where they live, are always going to behave this way. They are the unprepared, the nervous Nellies, the dependent and/or unprepared class.

I observe two primary categories of stupid behavior before a storm or bad weather…
Bad driving, and a dash to the grocery store.

While there is always a percentage of bad driving that is observed on the road, prior to (and during) bad weather it gets much much worse. Observations include the inability to drive straight, swerving into other lanes of traffic, driving too fast, driving too slow, sudden braking, erratic behavior at stop signs and traffic lights, and parking lot pandemonium. I have even observed looks of near panic in the eyes of some of these people as I’ve passed them on the roadway hunched closer to their steering wheel as they clutch it while peering through the windshield as though lost in a world that has suddenly become foreign to them…

Some of them are heading to the grocery store. While inside, most of them head straight to the aisle of bread and milk. They snatch up more than they’ll reasonably need while they eye the people around them with their shopping carts as though thinking, “don’t even think about picking up that loaf of bread, it’s mine… better grab it first…”. Then it’s on to the milk…

What does this behavior indicate, and what can we learn from it?

I believe that the behavior indicates a certain mindset, perhaps a dangerous one.

I would bet that the ‘grocery store’ group of people are split between actually needing bread and milk (because they don’t have enough to last a day or two) and those that have enough but they have the urge to go get more (a somewhat panicked state of mind).

I would bet that the bad driver group are mostly of the panicked mindset. When faced with this situation they lose all regard of their surroundings as they can only think about themselves and their predicament… probably with tunnel vision.

Whenever I observe this ‘bad weather’ behavior, I am ALWAYS amazed at the apparent high percentage of the population that behaves this way. Being of the preparedness mindset and a participant of situational awareness, I imagine what it could be like if we truly were facing a disaster. It would be utter social chaos. I have no doubt about this. It proves how our society lives on the razor edge of being civil. There is a large dependent (and unprepared) class who have little ability to take care of themselves or think for themselves if forced to do so. When they know their normal world is about to change (or has changed), they panic.

Under extreme circumstances, this behavior can become a danger not only to themselves, but to those who are already prepared but happen to bump into them. For one thing, when you’re out in public before bad weather (or during disaster) you need to increase your situational awareness and watch out for these people. They are acting irrationally. Accidents increase. You put yourself at risk. Of course the better thing is to avoid going out during these times…

The lesson learned during these observations is that there are a number of events that could shake things up in our world to a point where the stupid behavior that we observe prior to bad weather would pale in comparison. And unlike bad weather which ends shortly… there are events that would not. Think about that.


  1. I agree with your assessment about stupid behavior prior to a coming storm. We plan our grocery shopping on a weekly basis as we have a very small refrigerator and it just can’t hold more than a weeks worth of food. We always go shopping on Sunday as that is my only day off. Unfortunately it has at times been one or two days before a storm that we have had to make this trip. Watching some of these people you would think that that this is the last trip they are ever going to make and they wan’t to make sure they get every little thing that they might need for the next month. I am still amazed at the empty bread and water isles as we go down the isles.

  2. Our local weatherman actually wrote an article about bad weather and one of the things he said was that you do NOT need to run to the store and clean out the bread and milk aisle….My milk is on the hoof and my bread is in the form of flour and yeast. So I stay the heck home when bad weather is coming. There is no way I am going on the road with all the crazies!!! My routine is just to batten down… Make sure I have plenty of dry firewood brought in, give the animals an extra amount of feed and water should it be bad and I do not want to go outside, check the lamps that they are full and ready should we lose power and that the flash lights are handy and with good batteries. Other than that we just hunker down and are reassured that no matter how long the bad weather we have plenty of everything to make it without going anywhere off our property…

    1. …Exactly… as though they’ve never encountered snow before.

      Even when I lived on the West coast where it would not rain for half the year, when the rainy season would begin in October and whenever that first rain came – everyone would freak out, the driving would come to a near standstill, all as though they completely forgot how to drive in the rain from 6 months before when it last stopped… unbelievable.

  3. It is quite amazing how people panic and get to the market for the french toast pandemic,eggs, milk, and bread of course, sometimes I believe the local news media puts so much fear and hype into storms that the markets are paying them to do so. Also I love how the local news have reporters all around the area reporting on the storm, look at the flags behind me blowing in wind, let me show you with my ruler how deep the snow is, the shovels and salt are flying off the shelves here at home depot….. and then we get nothing! Just like today, where I’m at, last night it went from 4 to 8 inches predicted to this afternoon 2 to 4 inches to when I got home for dinner a coating to an inch. As I look outside the wind dried the ground up from the little bit of rain we got. Hope that trip to the market in panic was worth it!

    1. I also agree regarding the media and news whenever it’s about to storm outside. They send all their reporters to the same places… to the edge of the shore in hopes of flooding, wherever they can prove that the wind is blowing, etc. I have even seen camera angles where they put the camera down low to a puddle, making it look like some kind of flood, whereas it’s simply a few inches of water running off down the road. Oh, and when the wind gusts, the reporter ‘dramatically’ lurches as though about to be toppled over – all for effect of course…

  4. These people that are described in the article will be the ones most likely to die when the real SHTF….. I was ready for Hurricane Sandy and went for 11 days with no heat or electricity. The low 21oF at one point with 4″ of snow a few days after the hurricane hit. After the storm, when the power came back on, I went out and immediately improved upon a few items and replaced/increased my supplies. I always get a good laugh at these fools who fail to prepare, then panic at the last minute.

    1. That must have been one hell of a time you had… glad you made it through okay. The worst thing I’ll bet was the cold, without electricity. Did you stay at home or were you able to get to other shelter?

  5. Because of poor judgement on the route I chose I recently undertook a 1700 mile trip. I managed to run into major rainfall and flooding. I ended up in a flood isolated town for four days. The road I had taken was a major interstate highway used by major road haulage companies. There were 500 transport trucks – many of them B double units stuck in the town as well as many ordinary travelers.

    After two days, milk, bread and eggs became scarce. The two supermarkets in the town ran short and started rationing. Panic buying.
    When going to order breakfast you could normally have baked beans and eggs on toast – except there were no eggs and no bread.

    Here’s the irony. This was a country town.
    (a) Food distribution was now handled by major supermarket chains whose distribution centres were 400 kilometers away. All perishable food was trucked in.
    (b) Twenty five years ago, this being a country town would have had its own bakery, it’s local dairy for milk and local egg farmers. The local industry had been wiped out by the giant supermarket chains.

    1. You are exactly right. Most everyone depends upon these systems of distribution nowadays. It is definitely a weak link.

  6. Well said! I ment to rate this a 10 and accidently gave it a 3… New here…

    1. I bet you are my brother Nate :)

      I can attest to the stupidity abound when the fluffy stuff is coming. Where I live we only have two seasons, road construction and salt trucks and still people forget how to drive!
      I keep at a minimum a box or two of powdered milk, a lot of fresh bottles water, plenty of bread and other no cooking needed foods on my regular pantry shelf.
      I like the storms it gives me a chance to see what preps I need to back up or improve on.

  7. I was at home…. Nevr go to a shelter. The risk of getting a virus or disease is too great. One is safer by themselves or with their family at home. It was just me and my dog. The one thing I never accounted for was the utter boredom. Since then I bought a LED headlamp so I can read when it gets dark out.
    Having a good sleeping bag and a Gortex Bivy bag is the key to sleeping/surviving the cold at night. Wearing Polypropolene or Polar Fleece clothing all of the time is the key to surviving the cold too.

    1. You bring up a very good point regarding boredom. We’re so conditioned to use our electronic devices today, etc., that without them it seems strange. Additionally of course, if you’re stuck in your location due to the disaster, that’ it… what you have is all you have for the time being. Having a library of books to read, maybe a portable battery operated radio for listening, and as you said… a source of light for nightime (LED lighting being the most efficient).

  8. Living in Ct, we get a lot of snow. As a matter of fact, we’re in the middle of a snow storm right now. One big help to us is a crank radio. Battery operated are fine until the batteries conk out. We’re lucky because we live in a historic home with many fireplaces. One has a coal stove and the other is a wood stove. We cook on them if need be and heat water for baths and washing. We sometimes will go 7+ days or more without electricity. Do people act nutty here? You bet they do! We stay home, read by liquid paraffin candles and enjoy the quiet. We’ve prepped for two year and feel secure. No hope for the lemmings. They will never change.

  9. I cant handle, or understand, why more people come out when the weather gets bad. Its raining. When the rain started I was overwhelmed by a mass of people buying 100s of dollars in fuel. While others were literally filling their arms with sodas and junk foods. And a third group was buying their cigarettes in mass. I work at a small fuel kiosk outside of a kroger! They’re being drenched while hoarding up snacks and shivering as they stand at my window. Over RAIN. Not even snow or ice! Just stay home for the night and you’ll be fine for heavens sake!

    On the complete other end. We had a power outtage. Whole town out. People were frantically driving from gas station to gas station on empty haphazardly trying to find a gas station that was open and wasting even more fuel than just going home or trying to get out of the radius to get fuel at an interstate. It was insane. And some people were even tearing off the out of order signs to try and use the pumps like we were lying! It was mass panick over a power outtage!

  10. –and then, there are those who defend the practice and act offended, when it is mentioned. Yes, indeed, how dare fault be found with the sad, predictable, herd mentality. Americans, as a group, walk on water, always.

    P.S. What about the lack of snow shovels at hardware stores? Do these wear out on an annual basis, and people only think to “restock” right before the first fall of snow?

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