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Fairbanks, Alaska

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Ward Merdes
Ward Merdes
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Warm Roads? Slow Down in Alaska

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It’s February 18th and getting warmer in interior Alaska. We’re gaining sunlight every day and are up to eight hours. Roads are thawing on sunny days. Black ice is upon us. My phone is ringing with folks who have been smeared on the roads. Let’s review how to avoid calling me:

SLOW DOWN.

It’s really that simple. Take your foot off the gas. Leave lots of room between cars. It’s OK to stop for a yellow light. It’s OK to be a little late for work. Your boss will live. You might not.

Every "spring" (that term is a bit premature in these parts) folks forget about black ice. Do yourself a favor and remember this year. February and March driving is extremely dangerous. A low sun and slippery roads provide every opportunity to get into driving trouble.

A GOOD IDEA: Take your teenage kid to an abandoned parking lot. Sit him/her behind the wheel. Accelerate slowly. Slam on the brakes – and practice "sliding on the ice." They will do it on our roads – so you might as well have them practice in advance. Of course, be careful and don’t injure/kill anybody. Leave A LOT of room for error. It’s a wonderful learning experience that may very well save your kid’s hide.

It’s dangerous on Alaskan roads this time of year. Be careful.