Snow well-behaved, but not some drivers
Getting out in the snow so you won't have to, I return convinced that I will never hesitate to offer the simplest, most duh advice before every storm. This storm, while intense, is quite well-behaved. Light weight and easy to shovel. (Or so the Grid Spouse tells me.)
It's the drivers I worry about. To be safe, more should:
-- Slow down. Drive like there's an egg between your foot and the pedal. The depth of the snow and the degree of plowing varies considerably from road to road, or from lane to lane. Pedestrians have even more trouble seeing than you do and are moving slowly.
-- Turn the lights on. People are pretty good about this today, but there are some slackers. Right now, the snow is fine and there's lots of it in the air, making it difficult to see. The road surface if often just as white as the sidewalks and the side streets. Later, when the plows start to win, the snow banks will be discolored by sand, forming a clear boundary. Not now.
-- Slow way down for turns. Many drivers are overestimating their safe turning speeds, especially when coming from a main road to a side road, where the snow is deeper.
-- Carry stuff for when you get stuck. It's amazing how little effort it takes to really wedge yourself into a snowy street. Have a bag of sand or kitty litter and a shovel. In a bad case, you can use your floor mat under a drive wheel to get a grip.
I met a driver trying to get out of a rut in a side street off University Boulevard in Silver Spring. He had made it that far from Baltimore without any trouble, he said.
Now he was stuck in a most undramatic way. No snow bank, no deep rut. It was just a little angle and a little icy patch that held him fast for about 15 minutes of rocking till he broke free and returned to the relatively easier travel on University Boulevard.
At midday, "easy" is a relative term everywhere in the Washington region. The Capital Beltway, visible to me from an overpass in Silver Spring, was as white as a frozen river. Only a few cars passed by on either loop. (That's good. It makes no sense to be out now.) The Beltway and University had been plowed -- I saw the plows make a pass on University -- but the snow is falling so rapidly that their work was quickly covered over.
Posted by: tomveiltomveil | December 19, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse
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