In the past month, it has snowed in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Hawaii. This week, a rare snow event closed roads in the Las Vegas area. Here’s why it causes such mayhem.
An unusual snow “storm” struck the Nevada area around Las Vegas creating conditions too much for the Sin City residents to deal with. The light dusting prompted the Nevada Highway Patrol to close Interstate-15 between Jean, Nev. and St. Rose Parkway due to accidents in both directions.
Coincidental to the Las Vegas snowmageddon event, we at BestRide in Metro Boston were lamenting the fact that we only have six inches of snow to test our Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk in this week. Six inches is not really a challenge to a vehicle with a suspension that can raise itself, has all-weather tires, and includes a multi-mode all-wheel-drive system. The causes of many of the problems in Nevada this weekend stem from the fact that most people don’t buy this type of kit in that area.
The reason that snow causes so much mayhem in places like Las Vegas is simple – Nobody is ready for it and nobody stops driving. One fan of BestRide reached out to us and her comments captured the real story very succinctly. Jackie Ferrara is a “survivor” of the Blizzard of ’78 in Boston that paralyzed the city for days. Anyone who lived through that event no longer takes snow for granted and has a winter prep kit inside their own vehicle that would keep the cast of Life Below Zero alive for a week if necessary. Jackie told BestRide, “It’s a good thing today was a holiday. Nobody here has all-season tires, never mind winter tires.”
Experienced winter drivers in winter-climate states deal with snow and ice on a daily basis and they know the routine. Leave more time. Drive slowly approaching corners. Top off the washer fluid. Throw your boots and parka in the back seat in case it all goes bad. In areas without regular snow, a dusting can cause things to just grind to a halt. In 2014, a couple of inches of snow in Atlanta causes an 18-hour gridlock traffic jam.
Drivers are also on their own in most places without regular snow. In winter regions of the U.S. snow removal and road surface treatments with chemicals harsh enough to eat iron are taken for granted by drivers. Places like Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Hawaii don’t salt or sand roads because they don’t own the equipment required to do so.