Americans need to toughen up. Cancelling work and school because of a bit of ice and snow?
Never underestimate just how much of a mess what we call a small amount of snow can cause in a place which doesn't normally have to deal with it.
I have always lived in the mid-west. Actually, most of it in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, and went to school up on Lake Superior. Driving in snow and ice should be second nature to us.
However, I see the same behavior up north at the beginning of winter. Some people who are use to driving full speed all summer and fall suddenly have a hard time dealing with the snow...and these are people who grew up in these areas. It takes a little time for many to get their "snow legs". Obviously, this isn't everyone and you would expect people to think a little before jumping in the car the first time... but it happens anyway.