Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow Day

This is a picture of Interstate 5 just South of Portland. Southbound traffic is on the left and Northbound is on the right. The Oregon Department of Transportation has now issued a bulletin requiring traction tires or chains on all the highways in the Portland Metropolitan Area. This is a once-in-a-decade thing. Surprisingly, there's only been about three inches of snow. We've been well below freezing for days. Snow on top of ice and frozen ground. People here just don't know how to deal with it.

I live about an hour and half South of Portland. We just got some snow showers. Mostly it was freezing rain. I admit I have limits. No riding in the freezing rain for Irondad today. I've done it, I hate to say. Really freaked out some truck drivers who watched me in astonishment. They were stopped to chain up while I crawled up the hill. I could do it again but I choose not to deal with incompetent drivers. So far I haven't driven, either. Katie has the day off. There is hardly a school or college around that's open for business.

At 6:30 this morning the Oregon State Patrol was responding to 17 freeway accidents in my area. They finally quit responding to any new ones except for injury accidents. There just weren't anymore personnel available.

Check out this web page. It's for a Portland news station.

Look on the right side of the page where it has videos. Click on the video that talks about 15 collisions. This was home footage taken by a Beaverton Schools teacher from his apartment balcony. An SUV takes a wild ride down a hill causing destruction along the way.

I love to see bad things happen to SUV's. This morning I had a thought about why people drive like they do. Besides basic stupidity, of course. Vehicle manufacturers have taken to putting instructions on the back side of sun visors. When a driver pulls the visor down there's directions on things like starting the rig, etc. Sometimes there's an explanation of how to engage four wheel drive. At the very top of the list must be something like this in big, bold letters.

The bigger your vehicle the faster you should drive in ice and snow!

Haven't you observed that most drivers take this to heart? They can all have fun with each other. I'm hibernating and drinking coffee this morning.

Miles and smiles,



Allen Madding said...

I'm right there with you on limits. I don't mind riding in the rain, but I am not comfortable with Atlanta traffic in the rain. Riding/Commuting in Atlanta traffic is lively enough.

Unfortunately, the majority of the population in the Metro area doesn't grasp the concept of slowing down for diminishing road conditions. So, they continue to attempt to drive at the same speeds, cut each other off, tailgate, etc. Traffic accidents go up 10-20x with rain during commute times in Atlanta.

I am comfortable with my riding in rain, unfortunately, I am not comfortable riding with people doing these kinds of things in downpours.

I've read postings by people saying "if you don't ride in the rain, you don't really ride". Bully for them. I have raingear in my bags and get caught in showers and that's fine. But, if I wake up in the morning and we're having a down pour, I'll opt for the cage.

At 43, I don't feel like I have to prove myself to anyone. Someone is always gonna be bigger and badder. Just because we know we have the skills to do something, doesn't mean we should do it.

From what I've seen on TV and in your post, you've made the wide decision.

Ride Safe!

Balisada said...

I looked at the video on your link and I could just hear the panic - "STOP, STOP STOP - GET OUT OF THE WAY!! I AM PRESSING THE BRAKE AS HARD AS I CAN, BUT I AM NOT STOPPING!!!". I noticed that the brakes were applied on several of the sliding vehicles.

I saw on the traffic report this morning a semi truck that they said "was in the process of jacknifing."

Apparently, although the semi was currently in the center lane, it started out in the left lane, and due to the banked curve that it was on, the semi was slowly sliding sideways toward the right lane. Hence, "in the process."

Traffic was still attempting to go around it, although it was slowly sliding sideways.

As it gained momentum, traffic around it slowed, but one brave soul tried to pass on the right side (in between the semi and the concrete wall that the semi was sliding sideways towards).

He almost didn't make it.

I used to work with a computer programmer who used to live in Georgia or Florida and he said the same thing that Allen Madding said. Well, actually he said that even in the rain with only 10 feet visibility, people are still driving like mainiacs.

I would like to say that people don't surprise me anymore, but they keep doing so.

And they are so amusing when viewed through the safety of the internet. :)

2006 Black Rebel

Anonymous said...

Back in 1985 or so, We had a major weather event in the area of Austin, Texas. My wife and I both worked at TI-Austin, so, in our little dayglo yellow escort we started down a backroad into town. We had gone half way, when we came upon a pickup, jacked up to the sky, with a huge V8,row of lights mounted on a bar above the roof, doing about 20 MPH. I pulled into the left hand lane, and drove around him at about 40. He couldn't STAND to be passed by an Escort, so, he DOWNSHIFTED, STOMPED ON the gas, and embedded himself in a snowbank beside the road. My wife and I laughed the rest of the way to work. Instant Karma!

Combatscoot said...

In Atlanta, you had to know how to get around the traffic jams that would develop on the freeways and any road leading to them (Jimmy Carter, Peachtree Industrial) when it rained. Now, I-285 was a parking lot any day during rush hour, but would stay that way all day when it rained because of the accidents.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It's good to see if we can still do something and how proficient we are at it. That tells us it's an option, it's not an option, or it could use some work. After that, I say ride your own ride.

When I saw the video on the news for the first time, there actually was someone yelling a warning. What a helpless feeling to have been the driver. Not driving; only along for the ride. Like I wrote earlier, common sense is now a misnomer. Good sense is not common at all.

Don't you just love it when that happens? Thanks, you made my day!

I've ridden in Atlanta. Can't remember the Hwy numbers, though. I do remember that interesting freeway loop that circles the city. Rampant stupidity knows no geographic boundaries, it seems.


Aaron said...

You love to see bad things happen to SUVs?

I don't know what's more disturbing; that I own an SUV or as a motorcyclist, I've heard that same line about us for years.

Folks that own SUVs are no more inclined to be incompetent drivers than men in their mid-life crisis purchasing a $20k cruiser thinking they're competent enough to operate it without prior experience.

Bad weather makes for bad drivers when people don't know when to just stay home. Period.