December 23rd, 2008

media: ling ling

Snow Driving Advisory

Okay.

If you're driving on snow, here's what you need to know.

Do everything gradually. Accelerate gradually, brake gradually, turn gradually, straighten out gradually. Leave more room between you and other cars.

Momentum will let you get up slippery hills. Going slower and slower just ensures that neither you nor the line of people behind you will ever get up the hill. Assuming you have the visibility to do so safely, it's okay to run lights and stop signs if it lets you keep up the speed you need to not slide to an icy death.

If you do start to slide, first take your foot off whatever pedal it's on, then do your best to straighten out and slow down - in that order, and GRADUALLY.

Just because it's getting warmer and the streets look clearer does not mean that they are safer; especially if the temperature is hovering around freezing like it was today and will be for the rest of the week. That just means that the slush turns to water and refreezes, often in thin invisible sheets collecting at intersections and under bridges.

Headlights do not suddenly become optional just because snow is white and reflects more light. Also, white != transparent: BRUSH THE SNOW OFF YOUR DAMNED HEADLIGHTS.

And for the love of all that's holy, if you're using chains, TAKE THEM OFF when you get to a cleared road. I don't care if it's a pain in the ass. You risk breaking them and shearing a hole in either your tire or someone else's windshield. Not to mention the damage you're doing to the road.

Finally, expect that everyone else on the road is a seventeen-year-old-boy from Arizona in an ancient pickup truck; that they will slide and swerve and cut you off without the slightest clue that they are endangering everyone around them. Expect this, don't emulate it. And then you can be pleasantly surprised when someone is nice to you, actually, y'know, showing the supposed spirit of the season.


I expect everyone reading this knows all this already. Hell, I would have thought after a week of this stuff everyone in the PNW would know it; but appearances on the roads indicate the contrary. And 3-6" more coming tomorrow. Be careful out there.