Posts Tagged Road Closings

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

A car lands vertically into a snowbank on Interstate 93 during a snow storm north of Salem, New Hampshire.

Credit: https://www.theguardian.com/weather/gallery/2011/feb/02/winter-storms-us-in-pictures#img-5

Yeah, we hit the big one this time! I’m talking at least eight inches of snow in West Texas this past week. Schools were closed and so were many businesses.  Even businesses that wanted to remain open – struggled for lack of employees that were willing to risk driving in the snow.

 

Driving is treacherous in West Texas – even on sunny days. When you add all that snow and drivers that don’t know how to drive in harsh conditions – that makes it all the more dangerous.

 

I lived in one of the Northern states for more than thirty years.  Eight inches of snow is not that big of a deal there.

First off, the state and county Departments of Transportation send out powerful snowblowers to clear the snow that accumulates. Then, they distribute sand – mixed with salt to make the roads less slippery.

It helps quite a bit.  A study made in 1992, found that putting salt on the roads can reduce car accidents by 87 percent both during and after a snowstorm.

 

Second of all, people are used to driving in the snow for six months of the year.  Slow and steady will get you there safely.  We avoid braking as much as possible.  And, we pump the brakes slowly – if we do have to stop.  We keep an eye out for any possible actions that we might need to brake for.

 

I’ve landed in the ditch a few times because I’ve slammed on my brakes.  Unless one is an adrenaline junkie, that is not a good feeling.  Ugh. Teens need to be specifically taught how to drive in the snow. Teen boys think it’s fun to go fast and then slam on the brakes to see what will happen.  Nothing good comes of that experience.

 

Third, if one does start to skid on the slippery road, turn in the direction of the skid.  This is actually difficult to do.  We have a natural tendency to want to turn in the opposite direction.  You wouldn’t want to turn sharply, as that will make things worse. I can cover that in my next newsletter.

 

Final Point:
The Department of Transportation had closed some of the roads for this snowfall. It’s against the law to drive around the barricades.

I knew that it was a bad idea, but I didn’t realize that it’s also a Class B misdemeanor. This is the same as a DWI. If caught, you might be arrested, have your car impounded, or spend up to 180 days in jail and/or be fined up to $2000. You could also be charged for the cost of your rescue.

The powers-that-be only close the roads when they are not safe for driving. Don’t be foolish and think that you are “special” and will avoid a disaster.  You won’t.

 

This was the most snowfall that Odessa and Midland has seen in the last five years.  If you were injured because someone accidentally rammed into you – you should call our office for advice.

 


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Call the Law Office of Gerald Fugit at 432-301-9252.