The first snow of the season came to us rather late this winter, but it made up for its late arrival in volume. Many places in the Bucks and Montgomery County areas were blanketed with over two feet of the white powder! While the municipalities did a fairly good job at clearing the roads, this much snow brings with it several issues which cause havoc on the roads. As we were driving through the mess, we saw several potential hazards which motorists should watch for. Here are our top 5.
- Icy lanes – Not just icy patches, but entire lanes get covered with ice as vehicles drag snow from the sides of the road back into the lane. As the weather warms and freezes, the snow turns to slush and then back to ice. In short, even though the roads have been plowed, the roads may still be icy.
- Disappearing Road Signs – When the crews hit the road, they’re just looking for a place to put the snow.
When there is this much snow, it creates “storage” issues. Unfortunately, the street corners are usually the recipients of large piles of frozen matter. Keep this in mind while you’re driving. There could be a missing stop sign there.
- Shrinking Roads As you’re navigating the back roads of Bucks and Montgomery County, you might notice that the roads don’t seem as wide as they usually are. That’s because the plows don’t always get to the edge of the road. This is usually not a problem as the roads will heat up during the day and melt the remaining snow, but with two feet or more, this doesn’t happen as readily. Watch for oncoming traffic inadvertently swerving into your lane and be ready to stop as the lanes shrink.
- Missing Turn Lanes A close relative to the above, this problem causes traffic problems at tight intersections. The main lane gets filled with snow, and the left turn lane is now responsible for handling all traffic. This usually results in only 1 or 2 cars getting through the intersection at the light change, leading to backups and usually one or two crazy people who try to beat the traffic and usually get stuck. Do yourself a favor and give yourself some extra time when you’re going out.
- Blind Turns Remember the missing stop sign? All that snow hides your view of the intersection as well as the road sign. It’s one thing to look over the top of a 3 foot drift, but when that mound is 6 or 7 feet tall, unless you have a Mack or Peterbilt logo on your vehicle, you’ve got a blind spot.
Forewarned is forearmed. Know what you’re getting into when you hit the road this winter. A little extra time in your day can mean the difference between getting somewhere on time and making a trip to the body shop.