Montana Outdoors

October 29, 2008

Please slow down!

Filed under: Montana — montucky @ 6:53 pm

For those of us who live in the colder parts of the country, it’s time to change to our winter driving habits and remember, especially in shaded canyons that the road can and will often be slick with frost or black ice. Even driving well below Montana’s maximum speed limit of 70 MPH can be very hazardous on sharp curves.

This morning we had to extricate an injured and very scared woman from her overturned car after she encountered an icy stretch on a sharp curve on Montana Highway 135. The ice was not visible and her accident could have been avoided only by driving at a much slower speed under those conditions.

Please keep ice in mind when on the winter highways!


  1. Indeed! Please everyone, heed montucky’s very wise advice. For those of you who have not lost a loved one in a vehicular accident, I cannot express in words the agony of such a loss. I’ve lost too many this way. Life is precious. Take every precaution on the roads this winter and always. *hugs*


    Comment by Tabbie — October 29, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

  2. Thanks for the reminder … and for helping out people who need it.


    Comment by Patia — October 29, 2008 @ 8:22 pm

  3. “Take every precaution” is a good way to put it, Tabbie! I can’t think of anything that can’t wait long enough for someone to drive safely.


    Comment by montucky — October 29, 2008 @ 11:09 pm

  4. I felt I needed to say something, Patia. The roads today looked so good, and yet I could hardly stand on that curve this morning. There’s no warning and no second chance.


    Comment by montucky — October 29, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

  5. Reminds me; there are a few reiterated sign boards all over the Indian mountain roads in the Himalayas; one of them says “Speed Thrills but also Kills”


    Comment by Sumedh — October 30, 2008 @ 3:10 am

  6. Here in the northeast we got a dump of snow in the Saranac Lake/Lake Placid area and farther northwest. As I am about 40 miles east in the valley we only had flurries that didn’t stick,…. and slick roads. I was driving to work yesterday morning and thought,… “oh,… that looks like black ice”… I just hadn’t shifted my way of thinking yet,… I slowed down and avoided problems. Thanks for the reminder, and i’ll sing it in chorus with you!… Be careful in winter driving conditions!


    Comment by Cedar — October 30, 2008 @ 4:35 am

  7. Thanks so much for the reminder!! It’s been so pleasant during the days it’s hard to remember that conditions are icy and cold at night and in the morning.

    Though I have trouble going 70 on those country roads anyway, much to the annoyance of other drivers. (They’re just so *pretty*!)


    Comment by gradschoolsara — October 30, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  8. That’s true at all times, Sumedh, but especially in winter!


    Comment by montucky — October 30, 2008 @ 8:44 am

  9. That time of year has come, hasn’t it Cedar! We are expecting valley snow here in the next week too. It seems like it always takes folks time to get used to the idea, and a lot of accidents happen early in the winter.


    Comment by montucky — October 30, 2008 @ 8:49 am

  10. Sara,

    The canyons and spots that are shaded by the mountains are especially dangerous because the ice there never melts even though the sun is out everywhere else. Probably the worst time of all here is when the temp hovers right around the freezing point, especially if there’s a little rain, fog or mist. Most of the road will be wet then, but in a place that’s a little cooler than others, it will be icy. That sneaks up on a lot of drivers.

    By the way, driving in Missoula can be a special challenge. They have a favorite sport there of braking too late at stop streets and sliding right on into an intersection (and moving traffic). Watch closely for that to happen!


    Comment by montucky — October 30, 2008 @ 8:56 am

  11. That’s because everybody sits at intersections and spins their tires to get going, so the roads are especially slick there!


    Comment by Patia — October 30, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

  12. I learned this lesson years ago, and was even well below what I felt was a safe speed. Although I wasn’t injured, it was a lesson I never forget.

    More sound advice.


    Comment by Pinhole — October 31, 2008 @ 10:01 am

  13. After sliding off a country road on black ice at a stop sign during a northern Illinois winter, I suddenly became much more conscious of the danger. Needless to say, the off-road, studded snow tires on my Jeep were of zero value.

    I wasn’t hurt and the Jeep wasn’t damaged. Thankfully, I got out, locked the hubs into four-wheel drive, and got back on the road easily.

    At the time, I was more concerned about the shame of anyone seeing my Jeep in the ditch than worrying about how much worse if could have been. But later, upon contemplation, I thought it was a good lesson.



    Comment by knightofswords — October 31, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  14. I remember those, Patia, but don’t miss them at all!


    Comment by montucky — October 31, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  15. Pinhole,

    I’d guess that “well below” was the key to not being injured! I’ve had a few minor problems with ice that would have been huge at a higher speed.


    Comment by montucky — October 31, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

  16. Malcolm,

    I know exactly what you mean! I had a similar thing happen about 6 years ago while driving a 4X4 truck. If you drive enough during black ice conditions, sooner or later it will get you. The only question is “how bad?”.


    Comment by montucky — October 31, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

  17. we don’t get much ice around here and if we do get any, nobody knows how to drive in it! we have plenty of drivers though who think it’s ok to drive too fast through the neighborhoods!


    Comment by silken — November 1, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

  18. It’s doubly dangerous to drive too fast in residential neighborhoods and yet there are those who do it.


    Comment by montucky — November 1, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

  19. Here in Minnesota there are many folks who could heed your advice and just slow down. I have never understood why after a snow or ice storm, even on our mostly flat roads – why people feel the need to drive the speed limit or more? I say its better to arrive late than not at all! Thanks for the timely advice!


    Comment by Sandy — November 2, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

  20. I don’t understand either, Sandy. It’s the “it won’t happen to me” syndrome I guess, but the risk is just so great. I wish more folks could have first responder experience: that makes it very real!


    Comment by montucky — November 2, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

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