| 03.19.2018

Ice isn’t nice — Moscow and UI could do more to prevent icy roads


I drive a three-quarter ton, four-wheel drive, diesel pick-up truck.

My pick-up isn’t huge, but a person who drives a mid-sized car usually thinks it’s pretty big.

During the winter, I am one of those scrooges that complains about the snow. It’s not that I don’t like the snow — in fact, winter is one of my favorite times of year. I don’t like it because I drive a truck.  I get comments from friends saying things like well you drive a big truck, you’re fine in the snow. Maybe in other places, but not in Moscow.

Yeah I have four-wheel drive and it’s heavy, but both of those things aren’t going to help here on the Palouse.

I spent half my life in a very small town in Southern Idaho. There were some winters where the snow drifts were so big, that the entire front side of our one-story house would be covered.

Still, the bus was in front of my house at 7:20 a.m. because the roads were plowed by 4 a.m. and if it was snowing all day, they continued to plow. 

So regardless of the ridiculous amounts of snow that covered my front door, driving anywhere was never a problem. I didn’t realize that driving in the snow was a problem until I moved to Western Washington and when it snows there, people actually forget how to drive their cars. I may have the means to drive in the snow but I avoid going anywhere when it snows in Western Washington. The stereotypes are real — and Washington drivers aren’t great to begin with. Imagine them in the snow.

Western Washington has the same problem as Moscow. They don’t plow soon enough, don’t own more than two plows and anyone that owns four-wheel drive assumes they are invincible in the snow.

The main problem in Moscow is they don’t plow until 8-9 a.m. after people have slid their way to work. Also, if Moscow has real snow plows, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen one. I only see about two little trucks with a small plow on the front that doesn’t even clear the entire road and because they don’t clear the entire road, Moscow residents and University of Idaho students get the pleasure of driving on ice.

The problem isn’t the snow. The problem is the ice that covers apartment parking lots, UI’s parking lots, all of the small streets with less traffic and any place that doesn’t get sun during the day. Due to this, the extremely impatient drivers think they can drive in the snow, and end up causing an accident.

Stopping body weight from sliding on ice is impossible, think about stopping a three-quarter ton pick-up on a nice sheet of ice. It’s not as funny as watching someone fall and eat the pavement.

Obviously snow equals ice, that’s the cold reality of winter. I know three people that have had their car hit this week and it only snowed just over an inch on Monday.

I just think that Moscow and UI could do a better job with plowing the roads and parking lots and taking better precautions to avoid ice as much as possible. Ice causes accidents and no one wants to be in an accident right before Christmas.

Cassidy Callaham can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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