Winter driving challenges

No clearer indication of how treacherous mountain roads get was a video of vehicles sliding down an ice slick road and into a 16-car pileup last week.

There wasn’t even that much weather preceding the collisions, Tramway has seen similar conditions in even dry winters.

It seems like every winter, people require retraining, and that’s where we end up with the messes we’re seeing up at Lake Tahoe.

An experienced driver can get by without chains if they’ve got good tires and at least front-wheel drive. But driving in the winter is all about conserving momentum, and on a slick hill that is not your friend.

What is your friend is patience, driving on slick roads the same way you’d walk on ice, slowly, carefully and deliberately.

Because while authorities are often too busy dealing with the aftermath to make sure you’ve got the right equipment on the front end, Mother Nature is the proctor for this test.

And driving is just one of the many challenges we face with the arrival of winter.

Utility bills are through the roof after big increases in natural gas prices last year continue to put a strain on bank accounts and increase wood burning.

We’ve heard several calls where someone went out into the snow to play and ended up riding an ambulance after breaking something.

Temperatures below zero in parts of the Valley will cause exposed pipes to burst and pose a threat to outdoor pets. So far, there hasn’t been snow enough to shovel in the Valley, really, and it’s been pretty light. But activity related to that, splitting wood and other winter chores can be hard on folks not used to that level of activity.

We are fortunate that the widespread catastrophe accompanying last year’s winter storms have yet to materialize.

That’s a good thing, because we could use the break. But keep in mind that a fraction of an inch of ice is just as treacherous as a foot of snow, whether on foot or wheels.


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