Thursday, December 16, 2010

AMERICA - Demolition Derby Atlanta Style

"Ice storm chaos: How Atlanta commute turned into a demolition derby" by Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor 12/16/2010


Southerners are used to demolition derbies, but a mass of commuters surprised by an early winter ice storm found themselves on a giant hockey rink Wednesday.

The Atlanta metro area alone saw more than 1,000 accidents as motorists slid off roads, crashed into each other, and, in many cases, simply abandoned their cars and checked into motels literally miles from their homes. Few serious injuries were reported.

Georgia's state climatologist, David Stooksbury, came to the defense of the drivers involved in the great 2010 ice storm mashup. "I've seen drivers in the Midwest driving on ice, and they can't do it, either, so I don't want to hear it from them," says Mr. Stooksbury, who works at the University of Georgia.But he conceded that "part of it is just not knowing how to react, and I think Wednesday was a prime example of that where [Southerners] didn't quite understand that when it's this cold and it starts to rain that you really do need to slow down. And the people with the four-wheel drives, yeah, it may help you drive faster, but we don't have a thing called four-wheeled stop."

Lead-footed commuters collided and skidded off roads as the commute got bogged down with numerous road closings, including several ramps to the famed Spaghetti Junction at the intersection of I-85 and I-285. A leaf-thin sheet of black ice coated roads just as dusk fell on the height of rush hour.

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