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It made the main news on the BBC here in the UK - so yes.

I came to serious grief myself on black ice thirty years or so ago. I was on a busy freeway early in the morning, and braked into slower traffic. Car broke away, and went into the rear wheel cluster of a truck. So hard I blew his tyre and buckled his wheel rim. Then my car hit the barrier, and that pulled me out of the truck and I hit the barrier hard. Fortunately nothing else hit me. The French truck driver was very helpful and poured me coffee to help me calm down.

Of course we'd blocked the road totally.

Next the police turn up, and put their vehicle a good distance back with the flashing lights going. While I was talking to them, a small truck went out of control and hit the police car "oh bugger" said the policeman "you just can't believe how many forms I'm going to have to fill out now!" The road was pretty much a skating rink.

Anyway, recovery vehicles arrived and pulled my car and the truck off the road; they took me and my car to a local scrap yard, where they showed me the wreckage of several cars and trucks that had hit black ice that morning. I ordered a hire car and went, a bit shakily and with a touch of whiplash, on my way.

But the kicker was - the French truck did not have girders between the front and rear wheel clusters. So if I had been 10 feet further forward, I'd have gone underneath him and decapitated myself. And it was a petrol truck - so (a) there would not have been much of me left and (b) it would have hit the news for sure.

When I got to the hotel I was staying at that night I awarded myself a steak dinner and good bottle of wine, as a cheating death award.

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Yeah, that reminds me of when my wife and I lived in Dallas. The first year we were there, there was a bad ice storm. I was going to go to work, so went out, got in the car, and backed out of my parking spot in our apartment complex. This was on a hill, and I was perpendicular to the hill. Car slid sideways down the hill, couldn't get back up it, so called in to work. Later, on the news, I heard something about someone killed while riding a motorcycle (among other traffic accidents).

There was an overpass from the I35 to I635 freeway that my wife was always scared to death of, which reminded me of this:



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In the winter in Alaska, the roads get cold and stay cold. Pretty easy to control your vehicle on a road that is always cold, because Ice forms when you have temperature fluctuations. In Texas, overpasses can be extremely dangerous, the road gets cold, but you have warmer air blowing under the overpass, creating ice. 

I've driven on roads covered in ice in Alaska, but the road is cold enough that the ice is actually sticky. Somewhat like touching your tongue to a metal light post in freezing temperatures. 

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In a similar fashion, wet roads in Alaska are not slippery. It was a real shock to me the first time I drove in the rain in Texas, while in college. In Alaska the roads never get warm enough to sweat that oily film that rises to the top in warmer states. Not to mention that it doesn't really rain in Alaska. It just sprinkles. Driving on a rainy day in Anchorage is no different than driving on a dry day, as far as traction is concerned. 

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Darn. Pretty good innings though.

Back when I was working for PA Technology in the early/mid 80's, Neve's design and manufacturing unit was directly in the dead end road across from where I worked.

The name lives on in a road in a new housing development called Rupert Neve Close almost exactly where the factory was.


neve close.pdf

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