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In the Atlanta Metro area people spent Tuesday night in their cars and trucks on interstate and state highways. Hotels and motels were filled to capacity. Truckers are still sheltering in place at truck stops in the area.

Accidents and spin-outs caused traffic to gridlock. Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal have blamed the gridlock on the fact that schools, businesses and government workers were all sent home at the same time creating massive super rush hour traffic. They have said that this keep snow removal and sand/salt trucks from doing their jobs.

From personal experience I can say that my tires kicked up gravel as I exited I-75/85 near Turner Field around noon on Wednesday, so they had done some road prep, but on my way home later that afternoon I didn't see a single snow crew on the road. I did see the police from all jurisdictions out in force trying to manage accidents and other traffic problems. They were even at the Krispy Kreme, more power to 'em! They had hours of hard duty still ahead.

I do think that the constant coverage of the weather put fear into the minds of the people who did have to drive. They advised people to drive slowly, but I think that caused people to drive so slowly that they lost momentum on uphill grades and skidded out.

I had to stop behind several cars that I thought were part of a big back-up. It turned out that a few cars had skidded out and then remained across several lanes of traffic rather than trying to get going again. I had not heard the TV news people tell people that they could shift into a higher gear if their tires started to slip on a hill. They didn't tell people that just taking your foot off the gas can really slow you down in snow. They did tell people to drive slowly with their flashers on, but that really doesn't prepare people for what can happen on the road.

I had to be out yesterday, but I didn't want to be there. I was frustrated by other drivers who were driving at 20 MPH on the interstate. It isn't wise to drive too fast, but driving that slowly meant that traffic backed up even worse.

I managed to get home by driving only as slowly as conditions warranted. My car's Traction Control System only activated very briefly a couple of times. I had to use 2nd gear to get started after having to stop behind some other cars and I did have my wheels spin a bit. I knew to expect slipping and was back in control and on my way again. I tried to use my momentum wisely to my advantage and not let it send me off the road or into a skid.

I wish people could have heard more common sense tips about driving in snow. It was mostly snow and slush when I was driving with some ice underneath. The snow helped mitigate the effects of the underlying ice. But people heard so many dire warnings, that I think their common sense deserted them. Some people had to be out and I think they could have done better if they'd known more of the things they could do to keep moving and on their way home.

I don't know when it will snow again here in Atlanta if ever. Snow has become rarer and rarer. Fear of the weather may keep the folks at home glued to the TV, but it doesn't serve them when they have to be on the road in it.

Fear is the mind-killer.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 01:21:19 PM PST

  •  A basic lack of understanding about momentum (7+ / 0-)

    was truly evident.  Once you get nervous going up a steep icy grade and decide to stop to prepare for the assault you are doomed.

  •  There is obviously an opportunity. (6+ / 0-)

    Giant hole in the market. Write a small guidebook called "An Atlantan's Guide To Driving In Snow, Sleet, And Ice." Get it into local bookstores, supermarket impulse shelves, and gas stations and mechanics. Make a zillion dollars every year and name your next child or puppy LibbyLulu!

    And be safe out there. Crazy people skidding around.

    Faith, as you say, there's small choice in rotten apples." (The Taming Of The Shrew; W. Shakespeare)

    by LibbyLuLu on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 01:45:05 PM PST

  •  The only way to learn to drive in snow (5+ / 0-)

    is to have to drive in snow. I learned that in college when, yes: lots of snow, and a stick-shift drive.

    You never brake on a hill...you might creep along at two miles per hour, but once you brake, you're stuck.

    People here were laughing about all the accidents in Georgia. I wasn't. How can you be prepared for it when it's maybe once every decade? Not like here, where it's every fucking year: and some of those who were laughing HATE to drive in the stuff.

    I despise hypocrites.

    Best wishes to you and everyone else there.

    English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

    by Youffraita on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 01:54:16 PM PST

    •  With climate change I'm thinking this may be (4+ / 0-)

      happening more often.

      •  Maybe. We've just emerged from (4+ / 0-)

        an extended drought and our wetlands are still drier than they were 15 years ago. I wonder if this is a respite and then we'll return to heat and drought. That's the "fun" part of global climate change; we know that it will change, but not really how it will change.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:40:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Driving tips can help. We weren't taught how (4+ / 0-)

      to drive in snow and ice in Driver's Ed in Virginia; we were told. The tips did help when we encountered real-world situations. Like Be Skeptical said above,

      Once you get nervous going up a steep icy grade and decide to stop to prepare for the assault you are doomed.
      People should be warned not to stop on uphill grades. They should know not to give up hope if they slip a little, but to remain calm and stay off the brake and go easy on the gas peddle.

      A few weeks ago many people had broken pipes because they didn't know what to do in low temperatures, but TV news gave out information to keep it from happening to others. It's not usually very cold this far south, but a little good information can help people avoid problems no matter how unusual.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:27:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  heh: my first accident (4+ / 0-)

        came on packed-down ice. My mother was in the passenger seat going "Don't brake! Don't brake! Don't brake!"

        I braked. It was reflex.

        Ran into someone else who braked: the road ended in a T if you know what I mean. Stop sign.

        Then a kid even younger than me hit the brakes and ran into my parents' car.

        Three accidents in five minutes. On a street that hadn't been plowed nor salted.

        Cops decided our collective accidents were due to road conditions (well, duh) and fifteen minutes later a road crew had cleared and salted.

        English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

        by Youffraita on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 03:56:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No laughing from me... (4+ / 0-)

      at my job, I'm considered "mission critical" and live the closest to our facilities so I'm expected to make in to work in any conditions, including blizzards. One time last year they cancelled third shift so I had to stay bit late and drove home in 6-8 inches of blowing snow. I feel bad for the folks down there, driving in ice and snow is an acquired skill that you can really only learn through experience.

      No one knows what it's like, To be the bad man, To be the sad man, behind blue eyes....

      by blueyedace2 on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 02:46:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't laughing, but I was frustrated (3+ / 0-)

        when I was out in it. I was afraid I wouldn't make it home. I did though. I should have let myself cool off before I wrote my rant diary last night because I probably wouldn't have written it then. Being cooped up in a car under those conditions was making me nuts.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 03:05:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of us were ranting yesterday (5+ / 0-)

          and justifiably so.

          DeKalb County said schools would be open yesterday, but after-school activities would be closed.  Then, at 1:00 p.m., we were notified that classes were going to be dismissed an hour early. (I first got a text from my son, which I initially thought was a ploy he was using to leave early).  Thirty minutes later I heard from the school district--nothing on their website.  So all of us who had planned for a regular end-of-school-day release had to scramble to make sure our kids weren't dumped off the bus with no way to get home.  (My son goes to a magnet school that buses him to a site four miles from our home).  

          As another example, CDC did not instruct their thousands of employees to leave, but rather left it up to individual managers.  Zero coordination.  It took my wife 30' to just get out of the parking lot.

          Yeah, lots of rants were warranted.

  •  I have the good fortune (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, worldlotus, Lily O Lady

    of not living near Atlanta. And I also have the good fortune of being able to set my own schedule. Needless to say, I was at home when the snow started in Macon, and my truck never left the driveway.

    It's almost always a bad idea for businesses and schools to let out early, at the same time. Once upon a time when I lived in Portland, Oregon, I was doing office work on a snowy day. Pretty much the entire population of the city hit the streets at once during mid afternoon. It was warm and dry in the office, so I stayed there until about 7pm.

    I still had to try four different routes to get home. People were abandoning cars on hills - and Portland has more hills than Atlanta.

    Driving on snow does take practice, like others have commented. I'm a bit out of practice these days, and I stay off slick roads when I can.

    •  I'm out of practice, too. I was really (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foresterbob

      worried, but I did OK. Thinking it over afterward, I think some of my skiing experience helped, too. Don't try to use your edges on ice because it won't work.

      What worries me, is that right before this hit, the bluebirds were back in town. I haven't seen any since. I hope they're OK.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:25:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is simply not economically justifiable to keep (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, Charles Hall, foresterbob

    idle trucks and piles of gravel and tons of salt when you don't need them but once or twice a decade for a day or two.

    I grew up in the same town as Shepard Air Force Base, a major medical and pilot training base for the Air Force, located in north Texas.  It is/was? also SAC base and there were and may still be loaded missile silos around the area.

    It sleets several times every winter.  The city sends out a few trucks with sand and guys with shovels to hit the main streets.  But Shepard shuts down its runways.  It is just not worth the cost even for the military.

    Granted I haven't lived there for may decades so maybe that has changed.

    I know Yankees like to make fun of how badly the South deals with snow and ice.  But consider how much Yankees pay in taxes to keep specialized equipment, trucks, sand, and salt sitting around in July and August.

    The danger is the lack of alternate sources of heat for southern homes that are all electric.

    •  Atlanta bought 70 after the mess in 2011. I didn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foresterbob

      see any of them, though.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:20:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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