This winter has dropped record snowfall for December in our area, and while the amount of snowfall isn't exactly impressive it is very refreshing. I certainly miss the snow, and am enjoying the White Christmas. However, in this area, snow is a much more dangerous prospect than in other places. I figure it is the same in the coastal areas of California, where there is also little chance of accumulated snow.
The thing that amazes me is that the Pacific Northwest, and Portland in particular, are very green. Lots of hippies, loving their biodiesel and hybrid vehicles. What amuses me more so, is that in spite of attempts to be green, nearly everybody here drives everywhere, and I rarely come across people walking as a form of transportation (as an example of this, the local shopping center didn't even have a way to get from the street sidewalk to the store without walking on the drive way for about a year). With the snowfall, I've seen people take up their cross country skiis and heartily approve. However, these are the same people that in good weather I never see outside of a car. Even if they're going less than a mile to the grocery store.
Now, combine that with the fact that it seems the green is only outwardly noticeable things. Bumper stickers that say, "I run on veggies" and glistening "Hybrid" or "FlexFuel" badges. Yet, keeping the tires aired up and in good condition seem to be too minor of a concern, and we get people who drive around on bald, underinflated tires.
To connect this with the snow, last night I dug out the 3rd stuck car in front of my house and after the first attempt at getting the woman going I noticed that her tires were leaving very little, if any, tread impressions on the snow. I then looked at her tires, and they were very nearly bald. It was very little surprise at that point why she was getting stuck every 5 feet.
After digging her out another 2 times, followed by watching her get stuck 3 feet up the road, my wife finally and helpfully tells the woman about my experience with this cold, white, slick stuff. She says I can hop in and try my hand at getting her car out, and I have very little problem with getting it going. Pure driver skill, but the car was more like a snowmobile at times than a car. There was absolutely no traction on the front, and I was at the mercy of hitting the right ruts and keeping my momentum going.
So, please, be kind to your neighbors:
- Leave your chains on if you're going through snow and don't know how.
- Keep your tires in good condition. This demands rotation schedules and proper checking. I compared this woman's tires to the back, and the back had probably 50-60% tread and the fronts were gone.
- Check your air pressure!
A car with 50,000 miles should not have bald front tires. Do everybody a favor, and go look at your tires. You don't want to get stuck and inconvenience a good samaritan with something so easy to avoid.