Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear Washingtonians,

While stuck in traffic this morning when it took 2 hours to drive a mile and a half because of inclimate weather, i have a few insights for drivers living in our area.

Because our roads are like \ or / with lots of U, S or C (read "lots of hilly, curvy roads" for people with more than half a cerebrum), snow is never a good thing when it falls in the Pacific Northwest.

When conditions exist that make the roads look like this:

picture taken by Cookie Monster at 11 in the morning

there are some basic truths you should follow. See below my list of handy hints to help make yourself not look like even more of a moron than you already do, especially if you are taking your life and fellow drivers' lives in your own hands. Besides, if you end up dead, you'll never have another chance to prove that you aren't a complete jerk or totally daft!

1. Don't go out in your car if you've known you needed new tires since last Spring. (I actually heard someone admit this today while she was stuck blocking one of the lanes on the highway to our house.)

2. Don't drive your BMW with 16 inch rims (but 1 inch thick racing tires) ON ANY ROAD.

3. Don't operate a truck without 4 wheel drive, unless you have something heavy in the back. Also, if your truck is sliding all over the road because you neglected to put sandbags in the back or if you have bald tires, it's probably also wise not to try to "gun it" up the hill with a 65 degree turn in it at a high rate of speed when you are surrounded by at least 50+ cars.

4. Don't drive on the shoulder to avoid the traffic jam. (P.S. You will not get around because all of the semi-responsible people who have deduced correctly that they will not make it up the highway you are travelling have actually pulled their cars onto the shoulder and left them there till the snow melts. (That's why all the people are walking down the road...against traffic.) Your car, however, may get stuck sideways while you are trying to cut back into the lane of traffic that will be moving as soon as the semi up the lane gets his chains on.)

5. It doesn't matter how close you follow someone, it will not make them be able to go any faster, since they are in fact behind 50+ cars that aren't going anywhere either.

5.1. Along the lines of following too closely: when you see the vehicle ahead of you whipping back and forth across the road because they are losing control of their vehicle, that is not the time to ride their bummer.

6. If the road was a two lane road before the 2 inches of snow fell, chances are pretty good that it's still a two lane most. If you want to be completely honest, in a total white out, with no exposed asphalt, probably best to make it a one lane chain, slogging it up the hill together and leave space for emergency crews to get through to help clear accidents.

7. It doesn't matter if you are late. Slow down!! Breathe. And btw, you might want to hang up your phone. Doctors, your boss, the school....all will understand when you arrive really late, because they will hear on the traffic reports that the highway is at a complete stop.

8. Also along those lines, forget the speed limit. The new speed limit is only what it takes to get your car safely up the hill. Think of 5 mph as the new 55mph.

9. Don't cut off the guy with the Minnesota license plates. Granted, he may not look like he knows what's what because he chose to wear shorts to a snowstorm, however....he has more experience at this than you do. Worship (and follow) him (just not too closely.)

10. When you are stuck next to someone going the opposite direction (whether walking or driving), roll down your window and talk with them. Ask 'em about what's going on ahead. Oh share a better route to get through. Shoot, even if they don't know or you don't know anything, you can at least find something in common and help pass the time.

Truly, when it snows in the Greater Puget Sound area, it's probably best if you stay at home and do this.

I know that was our last trip out in our vehicle till Thanksgiving.

If it hadn't been for the bread for our dressing molding, we wouldn't have been able to put together this list. I am going to be most thankful this week that i still have my life. Now to try to get Moose home in one piece.

People back East had Snomegeddon last year; we're calling this snOMG here in the Pac NW. At 6:30pm it's 25 degrees and the wind is blowing snow at 20 mph. 2" accum.

1 comment:

  1. That looks scary (and very familiar). We once lived in Northern New York, which gets terrible weather, and is the home of a very large Army base, where people who have never seen snow are sent to live. After narrowly avoiding being hit by a woman with Texas plates who spun out in front of me, I stopped to see if I could help. When I mentioned to her that usually it's a good idea to go slow when the roads are slick, she said she thought that if she went fast, she'd get through it quicker ... sigh.


Thanks for taking the time to read my silly lil musings. Hope you have a wonderful day!