Our View: Please, folks, engage your brains when driving in winter conditions (editorial)
We’ve had a good start to winter this fall, with Vail Mountain receiving just more than 3 feet of snow in the past week.
On the other hand, big storms, especially those early in the season, often bring big problems on the roads. That was the case over the weekend, when snowfall and high winds conspired to thwart the Colorado Department of Transportation’s best-planned efforts to have snowplows moving on Vail Pass and the approaches to the Eisenhower Johnson Tunnels.
We expect conditions to cause at least occasional closures at higher elevations. But the drive to work on Monday, Nov. 5, showed that a lot of people weren’t prepared for that morning’s slick roads in the Vail Valley.
Eagle County’s EC Alert system — you are signed up, aren’t you? — had more than a dozen alerts of road closures and “road incidents” between Saturday, Nov. 3, and Monday morning.
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A drive from Gypsum to Eagle-Vail on Monday morning showed a number of cars off the highway in various states. There was also a pretty serious knot of westbound heavy trucks just west of Eagle.
On the morning drive east, several drivers seemed oblivious to the icy-in-spots roadway, barreling up the valley at dry-road speeds.
This seems to always happen early in the season. If we’ve gone for a few winter weeks without a significant winter storm, people seem to forget then, too.
People driving through the state on Interstate 70 have an excuse if they’re unfamiliar with winter driving in the mountains.
The rest of us don’t have that excuse.
Please, folks, slow down when the roads get slick. Take an extra few minutes to get where you’re going.
You do have snow tires, don’t you? Yes, they’re expensive, especially for larger cars, trucks and SUVs. But snow tires are a good buy compared to the cost of being towed out of a median or ditch and the cost of repairs to your vehicle.
Far too many of us are creatures of habit, and the drive up the valley on I-70 on a dry day can be pretty easy. When the weather turns, though, do yourself and the rest of us a favor. Turn off the phone, turn on your brain and be careful out there.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Krista Driscoll, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart and Business Editor Scott Miller.