In the Atlanta Metro area people spent Tuesday night in their cars and trucks on interstate and state highways. Hotels and motels were filled to capacity. Truckers are still sheltering in place at truck stops in the area.
Accidents and spin-outs caused traffic to gridlock. Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal have blamed the gridlock on the fact that schools, businesses and government workers were all sent home at the same time creating massive super rush hour traffic. They have said that this keep snow removal and sand/salt trucks from doing their jobs.
From personal experience I can say that my tires kicked up gravel as I exited I-75/85 near Turner Field around noon on Wednesday, so they had done some road prep, but on my way home later that afternoon I didn't see a single snow crew on the road. I did see the police from all jurisdictions out in force trying to manage accidents and other traffic problems. They were even at the Krispy Kreme, more power to 'em! They had hours of hard duty still ahead.
I do think that the constant coverage of the weather put fear into the minds of the people who did have to drive. They advised people to drive slowly, but I think that caused people to drive so slowly that they lost momentum on uphill grades and skidded out.
I had to stop behind several cars that I thought were part of a big back-up. It turned out that a few cars had skidded out and then remained across several lanes of traffic rather than trying to get going again. I had not heard the TV news people tell people that they could shift into a higher gear if their tires started to slip on a hill. They didn't tell people that just taking your foot off the gas can really slow you down in snow. They did tell people to drive slowly with their flashers on, but that really doesn't prepare people for what can happen on the road.
I had to be out yesterday, but I didn't want to be there. I was frustrated by other drivers who were driving at 20 MPH on the interstate. It isn't wise to drive too fast, but driving that slowly meant that traffic backed up even worse.
I managed to get home by driving only as slowly as conditions warranted. My car's Traction Control System only activated very briefly a couple of times. I had to use 2nd gear to get started after having to stop behind some other cars and I did have my wheels spin a bit. I knew to expect slipping and was back in control and on my way again. I tried to use my momentum wisely to my advantage and not let it send me off the road or into a skid.
I wish people could have heard more common sense tips about driving in snow. It was mostly snow and slush when I was driving with some ice underneath. The snow helped mitigate the effects of the underlying ice. But people heard so many dire warnings, that I think their common sense deserted them. Some people had to be out and I think they could have done better if they'd known more of the things they could do to keep moving and on their way home.
I don't know when it will snow again here in Atlanta if ever. Snow has become rarer and rarer. Fear of the weather may keep the folks at home glued to the TV, but it doesn't serve them when they have to be on the road in it.
Fear is the mind-killer.