Wintry commute frustrates metro motorists; callers swamp AAA

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW AND Paul Walsh , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: December 9, 2013 - 11:41 AM

Snowfall amounts overnight were less than daunting, but they were enough Monday morning to make Twin Cities motorists ease off the accelerator on greasy highways, and snow-packed and icy city streets and county roads.

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jackpine091Dec. 9, 13 8:12 AM

If you want to drive much slower than the speed limit, please move over to the right, and allow those of us who can drive in the snow to pass.

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sooofedupDec. 9, 13 8:34 AM

So, the huge "scary" predictions were wrong again?

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speedbump25Dec. 9, 13 9:51 AM

If you are worried of driving on the roads, then stay home. Those of us with the skills required to navigate these roads will Thank You!

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mnmaidDec. 9, 1310:43 AM

I left my house in Minnetonka at 9:30 this morning, and 494 southbound is a parking lot, and a skating rink! It took me 45 minutes to get from my house to Valley View Road in Eden Prairie and back home again--a round-trip of only 14.5 miles. I wasn't doing more than 30mph on 494 because the traffic was too heavy and slow, and was still fishtailing! The road spray was refreezing. Traffic was pretty much stopped from what I could see when I topped a rise (just south of 62) all the way beyond the curve where 494 meets 212 in Eden Prairie and becomes 494 east/west (from north/south). That's when I decided I didn't need to go where I was heading, and just went home.

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seanrwDec. 9, 1311:46 AM

Lack of driving skill is just part of the equation - The average driver does nothing to prepare their vehicle for the winter. All Season tires, when new, are OK at best for winter driving. After a few seasons of wear and tread-loss they lose nearly all of their effectiveness on snow/ice. Also a lot of new vehicles are being sold with summer tires, which are NOT safe in the winter. Modern snow tires make a WORLD of difference, and are MUCH better in these conditions. Next time you walk through a parking lot, pay attention to the tires on other vehicles and notice how wildly inappropriate they are for the conditions. You'll quickly reaize why there are so many slowdowns and accidents. More needs to be done to improve bad drivers AND vehicles which are not safe for winter driving.

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owatonnabillDec. 9, 1312:26 PM

Owatonnabill is highly amused by the outright stupidity he sees on our highways. How many times has some yutz with a Man-of-Steel complex and a hugely inflated opinion of his driving skill gone whizzing by in his 4-wheel-drive SUV, only to encounter said SUV about 5 miles up the road ignominiously buried in a snowdrift? Far too many times. Just because your vehicle can ACCELERATE faster in slick conditions in 4WD mode than can the average vehicle doesn't mean it can STOP any faster. Often because of the increased weight and higher center of gravity both stopping and maintaining control is harder in such a vehicle than in your average staid Family Truckster. That--and tailgating. If said yutz in the SUV is tailgating granny in her '02 Buick and granny, for whatever reason, decides to hit the brakes--well, check above. There've been several incidents when owatonnabill has observed such idiocy resulting in either a rear-end collision or (if said yutz manages to at least react before he collides with granny) the SUV in question going whizzing merrily on by granny spinning like a top until coming to rest against a guardrail, tree or other object. One keeps hoping that Darwin will cull the herd of the idiots, but unfortunately the supply seems inexhaustible.

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gopherdudeDec. 9, 13 1:08 PM

Why doesn't MNDOT have any plows out at least trying to scrap some of the gunk off the pavement at midday. There are no plows on the road right now for what reason? That and they seem to be concentrating on everthing south and east of St Paul that are already fairly clear and easy to drive on. 35W and 494 to the North and West need more cleaning, not just the salt and chemicals that are already down and how about some drying agents from the melt.694 65 and Highway 10 North through Mounds View, Spring Lake Park, New Brighton and Blaine are a joke neither has had a good clearing since the major snow storm with a ton of compacted ice and snow. 35 E south of St Paul has bare pavement and yes they had less snow but they have seen a lot more salt trucks and concentration by MNDOT also.

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seanrwDec. 9, 13 1:26 PM

Appropriate (snow) tires will help much more than having 4WD ever could. They also DO (drastically) improve stopping, turning, and acceleration. And your tire cost remains nearly the same over time as your usage is spread over two sets of tires. It's almost too good to be true!

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ladudeDec. 9, 13 3:41 PM

I've been using my Hankxxk Ipike snow tires for 3 or 4 winters now and knew right away there was a big difference in grip. I love watching people next to me at the green light slip and spin while I pulled away with ease! Just get a set of steel wheels for them so you don't have to have them unmounted and remounted when the seasons change.

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A440Dec. 9, 13 3:59 PM

Impatience is far more dangerous than impotence. Why do you suppose law enforcement always- ALWAYS says the most common contributors to accidents is excessive speed, aggressive/ inatentive behavior and following too close? It's never insufficient speed, overly cautious behavior or leading too close.

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