Weekend driving challenges remain
Update 2:50 p.m.: Beware of temporary lane closures around the region as snow crews try to return local roads to normal. The District, for example, has tweeted warnings about M Street in Georgetown and Connecticut Avenue in the last 24 hours.
Original post: It feels good to be mobile again, doesn't it? Well, not so fast. There are still a few obstacles in your path.
Disappearing right lanes: The sudden disappearance of the right lane in a snowbank isn't the worst thing. The worst thing is when it half disappears. Drivers in on multi-lane roads have time to react when they see a snow-covered lane ahead, as long as they're going slowly enough. But many drivers can't gauge whether they have enough travel room when the lane is partially covered in snow.
Life in the middle: If you're on a main road with three lanes, you're often best off driving in the middle lane. It's a pretty sure bet that somewhere along your route, that right lane is going to become a snowbank. Your challenge will be knowing when to move right to make a right turn. In some areas, that won't happen. You'll make the right turn from the center lane.
It's not just you: Okay, you're a safe driver, so what's the problem? Other drivers are going to swerve into your lane, especially from the right side. Drivers aren't any more likely to signal now than they are under normal conditions.
Visibility: Your two greatest assets this weekend are a full reservoir of window washer fluid to maintain a clear view despite lots of road spay, and supple neck muscles so you can constantly turn your head to see what's coming at you from the right and left.
Road hazards: The most likely reason for a traffic jam is the presence of heavy-duty snow clearing equipment on the far right or left side of the roadway. On either side of the road, watch for pedestrians. They will either be walking where there is no sidewalk or they'll be standing in travel lane in front of a bus stop that is inaccessible because of snow cover. At intersections, walkers also may burst into view suddenly from behind snowbanks.
February 14, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
Categories: Driving , Weather | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snowstorm
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