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Letters To The Editor

In response to: Drivers In South Stranded For 24 Hours On Icy Roads


I live about 3-1/2 hours north of Atlanta. All I have to say is this: we had well over 8 hours advanced notice of this storm. People had the time to get off work (or make the decision to stay home), I had the chance to coach my employees (having lived for several years in upstate NY), and went so far as to give my people some control over their schedules so as to help with family and to allow some leeway if the storm was bad.

Now, if these people were so idiotic as to NOT listen what makes anyone think that they have the common sense to actually get these materials together to create a survival kit for a storm that happens once a generation?

They’re simply idiots.


Remember that this started with freezing rain and then the 2-inches of snow. That is by far the most dangerous combination of conditions – the perfect storm. Especially in a place like Atlanta, which never has snow.

Roads naturally have mostly-dry oil them, from tires and exhaust, but rain wettens the oil and makes it slick, which is why the beginning of a rain, when it just gets wet a little, creates a slick, oily film that is the most dangerous. If it keeps raining, though, it washes that film away.

However, in the case of freezing rain, it can capture that oil on top of the ice, making a near-frictionless surface. When you add a little snow on top of that, you can’t tell where the black ice patches are. Your tires may catch on the snow on top, but that snow glides on the oil which is gliding on the ice underneath. It doesn’t matter how good your tires are, because you are on top of two sliding layers.

That’s why there are so many accidents.


  1. You spoke the truth.

  2. Many years ago I spent some time stationed in Elizabeth City, NC and I remember waking up to 3 inches of snow one morning. Being an Idaho boy I didn’t think any thing of it. I just got dressed and headed to the base on nearly bald tires. The military didn’t pay enough to buy good tires back then. I was dumfounded and amazed at the number of cars that were off the road. And in that area if your off the road your in the swamp. I picked up a lot of passengers that morning. Most of those people never see snow and have no idea how to prepare and drive in it. When I watched the weather reports about what was heading for the south I forecast to my wife that this was going to be a mess. I was right, if only the weather prognosticators could be so accurate.

  3. I am so grateful for your blog article. Great.

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