Sunday, November 11, 2012

Puppies on ice

Snowed here yesterday (Thursday/Friday overnight) for the first time this winter... or the first time at our altitude anyway. We're at 2200ft, and the snow line has been 3,000 up 'til last night.

There was 2-4" of snowfall around the region, but we had about an inch of accumulation (the first inch or so melted).

Last night, it got down below 20 degrees (its been above freezing most nights), and the black ice was REALLY bad.

...Really bad black ice, on a two lane, unlit 6omph limit highway; mostly with no guardrails, and a couple of long 6% grades with 90 degree turns in the middle...

The one major disadvantage of where we live really.

We went down to Spokane to celebrate our anniversary with friends (a couple days early. Our anniversary is tomorrow), and on the way down, we saw six cars off the road; including two that actually went off the road right in front of us (black ice, on a turn just over the crest of a hill).

The truck handled the ice just fine, but knowing how to drive properly helps. Four wheel drive and good snow tires are great, but they don't trump the laws of physics.

It doesn't matter how good your vehicle is, or how good your tires are; inertia overcomes friction pretty damn easily on ice.

When you are maneuvering in a low friction environment, you want your motion to be a simple vector. You can either accelerate, decelerate, or turn... just one, not two; or the product of your vector components is going to be greater than the friction force acting on your vehicle.

Four wheel drive, and good tires, increase the friction component of your total forces, (and help keep them balanced between your front and rear tires), but there's only so much that they can do.

Simple physics.

It got even colder while we were down in Spokane, and rather than risk driving back up into the mountains, with the rest of the idiots sliding around, slamming into us or running us off the road; we ended up staying over with them (and then going for breakfast in the morning).

Overall, a good night, but ended up a pretty long one, since we only got home late this afternoon.