As a child, I lived near a lake, and one of the most vivid memories of my childhood is going to the shores during wintertime. The lake was frozen and it was snowing, but through the haze I saw something that I’ve never seen since: a beat-up old car doing donuts on the surface of the ice. It didn’t strike me as particularly wise back then, and it wasn’t long after that realized that it was just plain stupid. Is peoples’ knowledge of driving in winter so poor that they don’t know that they shouldn’t drive on a lake?

After all, ice couldn’t be that sturdy, could it? I looked into it, and there are actually people who think of it as a matter of practicality. In places like Michigan, Minnesota, and Maine, lakes can freeze two or three feet deep. It generally takes at least two or three weeks of solid, deep cold for a lake to get to that point. People in these places tend to take the opportunity to take shortcuts over lakes instead of going around them.
Winter Weather Conditions

Additionally, people who live on islands in lakes will often take advantage of the opportunity to transfer large objects to or from the island. It’s cheaper, for instance, to transport something like building materials with a truck than it is to do so by boat — it’s more convenient too, if you survive, and that’s what causes so many people to take foolish risks.

Of course, some people — like the car I saw on the lake as a child — are just after reckless fun, but that doesn’t make their decision any smarter. Nevermind that fact that you won’t have very good control of your vehicle when you’re on solid ice.

That this is dangerous goes without question. Just because the ice is frozen thick, that doesn’t mean that it’s frozen evenly — there could be thin patches, and falling through the ice is a very real possibility. Suffice to say that you’re probably out of luck as far as your car’s concerned if goes into the lake — and you’re playing a dangerous game with your own life, too.