*More Winter Driving*
Getting There In One Piece
By: Jaden
22 January 2011

A few years back I showed some winter driving in a baby snow storm. http://www.alpharubicon.com/warlord/bovstuff/winter-driving-jaden.htm

I figured it was about time for some more. A couple of weeks ago the southland got hammered with snow and then it traveled up the east coast blessing New England with it's presence. It gave us 15" in less than 12 hours. Snowplows couldn't keep up with it. You'll always hear in the media that if you don't have to be out, don't go out. That's what common sense says too. Unfortunately some of us have to go out, we aren't able to stay home and let the storm pass. In my occupations of firefighting, EMS and 9-1-1 dispatching don't shut down no matter how bad it is outside. I have to go out. It's 35 miles for me to get to the 9-1-1 center and at 30-40 MPH it's a long drive.

This is about 7 hours into the storm

Route 1

Let me say this, two wheel drive trucks, rear wheel drive cars and low sitting cars SUCK, I repeat SUCK if there's any snow at all on the road. 4WD is the ONLY choice as far as I'm concerned. I have good tires on my truck and rarely have a problem. I keep my speed down and try to stay near the middle of the road. Some people amazingly will drive in white outs without their headlights on. This causes oncoming traffic not to see them until the vehicles are close.

Anytime I'm on the road I'm monitoring fire, LE and EMS radio traffic for two counties. I also scan area ham radio frequencies. This is valuable especially during bad storms.

In the above left pic you can see the headlights, but not the vehicle. It was only maybe 200' away in the photo. It doesn't take long to close that distance when two vehicles are moving toward each other at 35MPH.

On the way home it had stopped snowing, but the roads were 100% ice with packed snow on them. I had to go slower on it than I did going to work. I met a plow truck plowing but not sanding even though the roads were glare ice. This was at about 4:30 in the morning on a weekday. People will be coming out heading to work shortly.

I called in to the area rock station and told the DJ what the road conditions were like so he could be warning people for the morning commute. Well, it so happens the plow truck driver I met listens to the same rock station. He called in and said the DOT isn't allowed to put down sand because of silica. Gotta love it. It's much better to have glare ice roads than put sand down as has been done for decades. They put down some kind of useless liquid stuff now that doesn't do a dang thing until the sun gets on it. Then the snow and ice melts during the day and refreezes at night making black ice. It's an excellent strategy.

Get a good 4wd vehicle with good ground clearance. If it has crappy road tires on it, get rid of them and put on quality ones with good tread. That in itself will help you a lot.

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