2024.01.15 Snow Driving Observations - part something

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Portland is funky, snow-driving wise.

Generally speaking, PDX is mild as hell, rarely getting more than a dusting of snow at most and not enough to worry about. And the occasional punctuation of stay-around snow isn't in any way particularly much accumulation. But despite being infrequent and short-lived, it is almost always expert-level snow situations.

Taking a step back, my northern peoples have a great deal of opportunity to hone our slidetastic situational control. Even those Canuckistanni who do not overtly enjoy a good bit of the slidey-slidey get sufficient exposure to know where their limits are and to be sensible. More than that, there is a good long ramp up and ramp down of the snow-ness, much of it during climate that is cold enough to have the ice and snow be pleasantly predictable. So when there is a surplus of the slippery substances, or, more poignantly, when it's sometimes in that dangerous extra-slippery state of melty snow on ice, there is a deep well of useful reflexes to draw from.

Meanwhile, here in PDX, the locals almost never have to face snow. And when they do, they are woefully incapable of doing so. Augmenting this low-skill demographic is the relatively large influx of Californians, all of whom seem to want to pull over and have a good cry when it so much as rains. Which it does. Often. Maybe more on that some other time. This leads to a relatively high number of vehicles out and about completely without any winter tires.

The hilarious twist that PDX plays on the unsuspecting snow-n00bs is that, since it is rarely very far below freezing here, it is very close to the melting point - the slipperiest sort of snow. Which, more often than not, gets augmented with PDX's special sauce: freezing rain. So not only is there very little opportunity to practice driving in snow here, the snow goes from nothing straight to expert snow.

Resultingly, there is much chaos to be had here. And regardless of how capable one and their vehicle might be, it is exceedingly perilous to join in the maelstrom when it starts. But shortly after everyone freaks out and stays the hell away from the snow covered roads, it's basically glorious emptiness and freedom for snow-loving freaks such as myself to get out and have some joy.

Plus, in a more mature vein, it is an opportunity to provide transport to those that need help and reap a healthy crop of brownie points.