Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Speed Kills? Apparently not on the way to and from Mt. Bachelor

What's with all the people driving dangerously fast on the way to Mt. Bachelor in Bend.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 11:21 PM

We were driving up to ski. The driver is a guy who’s lived here and been going to and from Mount Bachelor as long as I have over three decades. It’s snowing hard and we’re cruising along, in control, at 45 mph.

That’s when the first car blazes past at what’s gotta be 65mph. Then comes another one and another including one driver who thinks it’s safe to pass on a blind corner.

Which brings up the question: why the hurry? The ski area isn’t going to disappear, the lifts should be running all day, the snow looks like it’ll provide plenty of fresh, untracked cover to ski for the next several hours. So why the zeal to get there so quickly?

It’s always been thus and probably will not change until there’s a major accident. But who knows if even that will change some drivers’ need to go as fast as they can, pass recklessly and generally imperil a lot of people. And the bet part is the worse the conditions, the worse the driving.

Take a couple of years ago when I was crawling down the roadway because it was as slick as I’d ever seen it. Cars were already snugged up against the snow bank at the road’s edge after sliding ever so slowly into it.

At the first big bend in the road just after the Virginia Meissner snopark, an SUV came roaring up behind me and started flashing its light for me to either go faster or get the hell out of the way. I chose the latter.

The SUV hurtled by and made it about 250 yards before going into a huge slide, crashed through the snow bank and then proceeded to roll over three times on it’s way to landing some forty feet off the roadway.

Thankfully nobody was hurt and more than likely no lesson was learned.

“Unfortunately,” a retired OHP trooper told me last year, “everyone thinks if they have four-wheel drive they are bulletproof and can drive as fast as they want on snow and ice.”

Driving cautiously on the way to and from the mountain is a rule for some, four-wheel drive or not, but for most it’s something to scoff at.

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