Tell me why
February 16, 2008
Why do drivers in the DC area abandon their cars in snow and ice storms? I have lived here for 34 years and witnessed the abandoned cars many times and people in the act several times. They don't even pull off the road; they just stop in a travel lane, get out and walk away. Why??? What is to be gained by doing this? I've never witnessed it anywhere except the DC area. Tonight, on my 4 hr., 12 mile drive home in the ice storm I saw one on the Rt. 27 (Washington Blvd) ramp near the pentagon, simply stopped. There was plenty of room in the break down lane, but the driver didn't even have the consideration to pull over before abandoning the car. There was nobody in it and I had plenty of time to look at 0.5 mph. After such an event the cars can stay there for days. Why aren't they towed? Where do the drivers go? Do they ever intend to come back? So many questions and no answers.
There is a huge influx of Immigrants in DC that have never Driven in or muchless seen Snow before & it Freaks them out..+ With all the Embasies From around the World there you have a lot of folks that are not snow driving savvy...Took My Brother 7 hours to get home to Annapolis from CV this eve(took me 7.5 yest to get home to Wilmington,nc)...Sucks to be you all!..Ahhhhh ..Nice down here in the carolinas..Y'All come back & Visit ya Hear...
I feel ya Denis. I guess the same reason that so many drivers think that if they tailgate and try to weave thru rush hour traffic that they will get somewhere faster than someone who leaves proper following distance and keeps pace with the overall flow. They think that if you aren't driving up the a** of the guy in front of you, you are going too slow!! They are also the ones who are involved in the many multi-car rear enders most likely. Its almost comical to sit back and watch sometimes. They might get to the backup at the next stoplight 1/2 mile down the road faster but thats all
bottom line, drivers in the metro area are either stress mongers or just overall terrible.
Maybe they think if they walk to a store and call DOT, they'll come out and help them move it? Figure it's easier than trying to flag down another driver for a hand to push the vehicle? I think this happens in other parts of the south, too, I'm pretty sure my co-worker from Atlanta has told me something similar down there.
We had a funny moment this winter when a guy *didn't* abandon his car. He had blocked our entire lane of traffic- we were going slightly uphill on an incline and the road was ice. Guess he had a light car and bare tires. There were some construction workers next to him that helped push him out of the way so cars could get moving. Right when I got to the light (it was red), the construction workers had thrown just enough sand around his tires that he was able to back out... and block the entire lane of traffic again.
What can you do? I was getting ready to hop out and give him a push when he got a little more sand from the construction workers and was able to get some forward mo'. The last I saw of him, he was skidding up ice-covered main street, fish tailing back and forth with his gas pedal pressed all the way down. All I could think was "Lord please don't let him hit a bare patch of road or he's gonna rocket into a building."
Hopefully he has since bought some new tires and a couple of sandbags...
My previous assignment in DC had me living in the Shirlington area, and I was always amused at the drivers trying to negotiate the Quaker Lane hill or the back hill from Shirlington into Fairlington. Gunning the engine and fishtailing up the hill seemed to be the preferred method for many of the folks. Same as the back gate to Snowshoe up Redgate Road. I've seen that incline literally clogged with cars running off the road.
On the other hand, I was in Cambridge Mass last month for a course and we had a wicked good snow storm that left 10 inches on the ground in the course of half a night. Rush hour was slower, yes, but everything was moving. And by mid-morning, there wasn't a flake of snow on the roadway.
wait... you said "flake of snow"....not "flake" on the roadway.
See plenty of flakes when there are flakes of snow on the roadway around these parts. Saw some of em in the valley last Sunday PM as well.
Even here is hilly Western PA, the drivers are usually worse than the roads.
I never remember seeing abandoned cars in the travel lanes in all my years in DC area.
ok not really weather related. But my pet peave was folks who stopped in the middle lane at mixing bowl- before they changed it- once they realized which way they were supposed to go.
We get snow so rarely. When there is snow, skiers want to stop whatever they are doing and ski. Always carry ski gear if there is any chance of using it, and abandon your cars whenever you can. Free yourselves!
The antidote for the Mixing Bowl, Deep-South-never-seen-snow and foreign tropical drivers: Take the Metro liberally...
For much of the area Metro doesn't work. I am about 6 miles from either Springfield or Vienna stations; getting to either in morning rush hour takes 20 minutes or more. Finding a parking space (often not easy), walking to the track, waiting for a train is another 20 min. or more. The ride on the train is 35 min. from Springfield and 50 from Vienna. IMHO the only really viable subway system in the world is London; NY comes close. From my house to work is 12 miles. Most of the time I slug or take VRE. Either takes ~ 45 min. door to door.
Denis, that I am totally with you. But both London and NY were designed and built under the notion that the subway is the primary means of urban transportation and that buses, trolleys, cars and bicycles are supplementary. In the US, we're under the unrealistic expectation that cheapo gas and behemoth trucks are the answer to transportation and everything else is an afterthought. And thankfully, we're nearing the end of that illusion, in terms of affordability, resources and land space. No reason why the Metro shouldn't be three times the present size, and no reason why I shouldn't be able to take a train and bring my dog on the train, and get to Snowshoe. Oh I'm going to be crucified here, but my most memorable ski experiences in my life did not include the automobile. And it was the number one reason to purchase a condo in a village concept where yes, unfortunately, I have to drive there, but once arrived, I don't have to think about driving for the entire stay.
You are correct about about US driving habits. We are rapidly approaching 'peak oil' and the Chinese and Indians are drastically increasing demand for crude oil. The poopy is going hit the fan soon and all of those folks who bought Hummer's, Escalades, Expeditions and Suburbans are going to be spending big bucks to fuel their monsters. The amazing thing is that it was only ten years ago when most folks were driving cars that got 30+ MPG. We literally fell asleep in this country. I suggest you watch the documentary film "Crude Awakening" if you really want to get depressed. Many oil industry experts are interviewed (not environmentalist wackos) who talk about the dire circumstances that we're in the US if we don't freakin' wake up. And for all you folks who think "those tree huggers are keepin' us from gettin' oil from ANWR in Alaska" the reserves there are a month supply based on our current consumption.
My apologies for even mentioning this subject on this website. Please resist commenting if you can.
No reason why the Metro shouldn't be three times the present size, and no reason why I shouldn't be able to take a train and bring my dog on the train, and get to Snowshoe.
I don't know about clear to Snowshoe, but def. agree that it would be nice to get a whole lot closer than it is now.
Oh I'm going to be crucified here, but my most memorable ski experiences in my life did not include the automobile.
I won't be the one to cast the first stone at you for that one. I agree with you there. I would much rather park the car and not get in it again til I head home. I also hope one day to fly to Europe and take a train to different ski areas once I am there. I think that would be really cool.
One of the major problems with metro, is that the metro doesn't go that many places. Metro commuting works for people who live in the suburbs (close to a metro station) and who work down town and close to a metro station. If you live or work elsewhere, chances are other modes of transportation are faster. When I lived in DC and worked in DC the buses were a much faster and easier transport option. Metro doesn't do a good job of connecting suburban areas to one another.
But I think the problem with metro is simply a reflection of the larger problems in the area, things are way to sprawling and spread out. From Downtown to Rockville now considered a close in suburb is 25 miles. The population density in montgomery and prince georges counties isn't that high compared to either London or NYC. It has to be a lot higher before a highly interconnected public system can work as a primary means of transportation.
I'm posting this before research because I'm Confident that ANWR has much more reserve than a month...
Ok..There is a 5.7 million barrel oil consumpion in the us daily..There is 10.4 Billion barrels in ANWR..pleae do the math somebody!
1 barrel of oil taken out of the ANWR is 10.4 billion too many....
How about those math skills??
I also hope one day to fly to Europe and take a train to different ski areas once I am there. I think that would be really cool.
Totally. Take Zermatt for example. You fly into Zurich, pick up your bags, walk them 100 steps, give them to the railroad porter at the airport, take the train directly from the airport, change to the Glacier Express in Bern, enjoy the monumental views, have a first rate dinner on bone china and white linen, more goo-goo-ga-ga at the scenery, enjoy the company of other skiers and drink lots of beer, arrive in Zermatt, walk to your hotel, find your bags in your room.
Next day wakeup next to the Matterhorn and breath the cleanest air outside of an oxygen chamber, walk to slopes and notice there are no cars anywhere in the town (they are outlawed), have the most magnificent scenery day and ski day in your life, look down from the Klein Matterhorn and see the car-produced smog way down the Ruhr Valley about 20 miles away, and thank God you're in Zermatt...
Hi there T...
I think the problem will acquire a new face when gas is $6.00 a gallon and the cost of vehicles doubles as resource-hungry car parts and components drive the price of a vehicle to the stratosphere.
The immediate suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria are having a great and healthy phenomenon, infill. Land costs are the driver on this equation. Much of the expansion, therefore, is vertical. And as a result, these old suburbs are expanding rapidly in income-rich population. The same will happen in the middle suburbs as long as a metro is nearby. Dunn Loring, Vienna, etc...
So... are all the cars off the roads now?