Safe driving: Doing your part when it gets icy

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By The Staff

During the winter months, the County would like to remind residents of some important safety considerations for motorists to take, in order to make navigating Los Alamos streets and sidewalks as safe as possible.

It is the responsibility of every motorist to have their vehicle properly equipped and serviced to handle such conditions, and to drive their vehicle carefully and courteously during adverse conditions. During storms, drivers are asked to be alert and courteous to County crews, who will be doing their best to keep the streets open and safe for traveling. Please assist them in this difficult task by yielding to their efforts, and keeping a safe distance away to avoid having vehicles struck by flying sand and salt.

Crews will generally plow snow toward the sunny sides of the street to assist in the melting operations. Residents should park in their driveways or on the shady side of the street to allow for the snow to be placed on the sunny side. In addition, it makes plowing much easier and cleaner if County crews don’t have to plow around cars. This will also assist residents in getting their vehicles shoveled out, since they won’t have to contend with snow that crews have deposited around vehicles while plowing.

Residents are also asked to keep their own sidewalks shoveled and free of snow for the safety of pedestrians.To this end, the County asks residents to wait to clear sidewalks after the storm has ceased and crews have plowed the snow to the curb, or in close proximity to it. Also, when clearing walks, residents are asked to place the snow on the backside of the sidewalk. If there is a drainage structure in front of or near the resident’s property, residents can assist crews by clearing it to allow snow melt to reach the structure and avoid ponding in the area. Ponded water can re-freeze and cause hazardous conditions.

The following suggestions are offered in the spirit of working together with the public, to simplify all snow and ice control efforts:

Direct the chutes of snow blowers and shovel snow toward lawn areas whenever possible, rather than toward the street. This will provide lawns with additional moisture and prevent that same snow from being plowed back onto surfaces previously cleared by residents.

Park cars in off-street parking areas whenever possible. This allows for easier access by the snow plow operators and a more consistent and comprehensive snow clearing effort.

If it is necessary to park on the street, don’t park vehicles over storm drain inlets. This slows the drainage process and causes ice buildup, creating potentially hazardous driving conditions.

Place a mixture of sand and salt on sidewalks with persistent ice.

Residents with questions or concerns are asked to call the County’s Snow Control Center at 662-8397. Information about road conditions for State highways is available on the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department’s Hotline: 1-800-432-4269. The county website, www.losalamosnm.us, has additional information about the location of barrels of sand for public use, under the heading “ News: Winter Driving: Be Safe”