Well, it's snowing again. There's not very much on the ground and it's been snowing lightly all day. To look at it, you would think it's just a light dusting. You would be wrong. This light snow is the most dangerous snow I've seen this winter.
The fact that it's been snowing all day and not much is on the ground should tell you something. The ground temperature is above freezing. The light snow that fell first melted when it hit the ground. Then more snow fell. The ground eventually froze. The first flakes (that melted) have now frozen and there's a light covering over the slush and ice.
This is more dangerous than a snowfall of 4 inches. With a large snowfall, you have the visual clues. You can SEE the snow. You slow down on the road and you're a bit more careful. The plows are moving the snow out of your way and laying down a coat of sand or salt. "The snow plan" is in action and working well.
With a light dusting, the plows don't really have anything to plow. Since it's not snowing that bad, they might not even send out the sand and salt trucks yet... The visual cues are gone. There's no pile of snow to shout "danger" at you. And the pretty powder hides a sheet of ice and sleet beneath it's skirt. It's very dangerous.
Luckily (for the pickup in front of me this afternoon), I have a lot of experience with winter weather. I know this is dangerous. I know that I have to slow down. And I don't panic when my car starts sliding.
I was near the end of the access road to the site. I started to use my brake as soon as I started down the last hill. I knew that it was early to start on the brakes, but I wanted to be SURE that I would stop -before- the intersection. Once I hit the brake -- I knew. I could feel very little traction. I was slowing down, but not as much as I should have been with my foot on the brake... And the car started sliding to the left -- diagonally. I turned my wheels into the direction of the slide and guided the car towards the side of the road. No fast motions or turns. Just a gentle glide with a quick prayer that no one would try to come the other way. Even if they did, they would be just turning in and would see me *already* in the wrong lane. Luckily, I didn't have to worry about that (most people are leaving the site in the afternoon instead of entering). I gently glided to a stop and then crept behind the pickup. Whew! Accident avoided.
Like I said...it's dangerous out there. Be careful.
Posted by BlueWolf on January 29, 2003 07:22 PM