Tires lose grip of snow-slick roads

December 29, 1993|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,Staff Writer

The truckers and the troopers didn't see the snow quite the same way yesterday.

People were driving too slow in it to please the truckers.

And way too fast for the troopers' comfort.

Weather-related accidents from one end of Maryland to the other proved that scores of motorists weren't getting it right one way or the other.

"People just don't slow down," said Tfc. Michael Wright, a nine-year state police veteran as he patrolled snowy highways from Essex to Pikesville on the day shift.

"They need to be more careful. All people have to do is slow down and keep their foot off the brake," he said.

Cruising in an unmarked Crown Victoria, Trooper Wright scanned the roads for speeders, disabled vehicles and road hazards while his radio scanner picked up CB conversations among truck drivers.

Said one irate trucker with a Southern accent: "I can't believe these people are going 40 miles an hour out here." Another Dixie accent replied: "Well, that's Ball-tee-more for ya. People act like it's icy out here or something. Everybody's just come to a stop. Why are they going slow?"

Maybe to keep from joining Sheila Noakes down in the median strip gully where, just before 3 p.m., her 1987 Mercedes 560SL had introduced itself to an unyielding guard rail.

The 46-year-old from Princeton, N.J. explained: "I was in the second lane and an 18-wheeler pulled right in front of me. I started coming over to get out of the way and the car just started spinning and fish-tailing. I was just trying to remember what you're supposed to do when something like this happens. I knew I was going to hit it, I could see it coming."

Trooper Wright disagreed.

"She was going too fast, that's all," he said, after failing to back the Mercedes out of the ditch.

"The first thing people say is that somebody cut them off," he said.

In the end, the uninjured Mrs. Noakes was given the benefit of the doubt by a second trooper who formally investigated her mishap, and she was not given a ticket.

Trooper Wright, whose shift ended at 3 p.m., said that if it had been his case, he would have cited her for negligent driving, which carries three points and a $105 fine.

Asked how much her Mercedes sports car was worth, Mrs. Noakes looked over at the wreck and said: "You mean right now?"

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