Back on January 19, 2005, Raleigh received an unexpected snowfall of less than one inch a few hours before the 5 o’clock rush hour. The temperatures leading up to this day were persistently cold, creating ground temperatures at or near freezing and allowing the melting snowfall below motorist’s tires to freeze into an icy sheet on the roadway. Just about everyone out and about that afternoon immediately had to drive with extreme caution as traffic jams and gridlock befell the entire city and surrounding area. As darkness arrived the air temperatures dropped and further solidified the scenario that many Raleigh residents won’t forget. Many people became captives of the slick streets and roads for hours. I was downtown right after the snowfall and documented a few of the common scenes from the day.
After witnessing all of that, I came to a conclusion that many people may not be aware of the benefits of driving in first gear in a situation like this. For example, the following clip shows how my car was able to make its way up a section of South Saunders street without slipping. Just about everyone else could not make it up this small incline without losing traction.
Many people felt that flooring it would get the job done. Granted, first gear isn’t always going to help, but its a better idea than that.