It’s icy (and scary) out there |

It’s icy (and scary) out there

Dear Editor:

This is a plea to people to please slow down on our roads. Four-wheel drive means nothing on ice, and the bigger the car, the longer it takes to stop.

This winter has produced particularly treacherous driving conditions valleywide. My wife and I found that out the hard way about a week ago. We were on Highway 82 headed from Woody Creek to Carbondale for dinner when a car in front of us hit some ice, spun out and slammed hard into the center barrier. I pulled up next to the car to check on the driver, and she was either too shaken up to speak or was badly hurt.

We pulled way off the highway onto the shoulder, hazards flashing, and called 911. Basalt police arrived almost immediately, set all their lights ablaze and went to tend to the young woman, who was pointing upvalley into traffic. There was a fairly narrow space between the wrecked car, the police car and us, and we simply could not fathom why a lot of people weren’t even slowing down as they weaved through the accident scene on an obviously icy road.

“We’ve got to get out of here before we get hit,” I said to my wife and took one more look in the rearview mirror before pulling away. I saw a pickup swerve at full speed to avoid the officer and the other car ” it probably would have killed both of them ” then watched it fly right up behind us before nailing us at about 40-45 mph.

Fortunately we both had our seat belts on and ” other than some residual soreness and a couple of bruises ” were OK. So was the driver who hit us and the woman in the original accident, but I can’t bear to think of what might have been had our two young children been in the back seat or if one of us had gotten out of the car. The kid who hit us was 17 and had no license. But he was just one of dozens of cars that failed to even slow down despite a clearly wrecked car in the middle of the highway, a police SUV stopped with all its lights flashing and another vehicle perched on the shoulder with its hazards blinking. This kind of behavior casts an ominous pall over what should be a glorious time of year and poses a lethal threat to everyone on the road.

As if this wasn’t enough, when I was driving a borrowed car down snowpacked Woody Creek Road the next morning, someone came whipping around a corner, slid out and was heading right for me. To avoid a head-on collision she swung back the other way, lost it and fishtailed into a snowbank. And she had a child in the back.

Please slow down.

Daniel Shaw

Woody Creek

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