• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 50s

Weather conditions ripe for washboard roads

By KTVA Alaska 8:00 AM January 16, 2014

Washboard roads are unavoidable and make driving on snow and ice extra dicey.

ANCHORAGE – Washboard roads: More than a slight annoyance for some drivers, they can actually cause vehicle maintenance issues and road safety problems, according to Meineke service writer Alex Ziegler.

“It can cause safety issues and it can cause maintenance issues,” Ziegler said. “Of course, you don’t want to lose control.  On washboarding, the vibrations can cause you to have less traction when stopping and starting. And also it does cause wear on your vehicle’s suspension.”

The washboarding effect happens as a result of the friction from vehicle tires warping ice and snow on wintery roads, Ziegler said. The mild winter Alaskans have been experiencing, he said, plays a role in washboard roads forming.

“We’ve had a lot of warmer temperatures which causes the snow and ice to melt, and then it’ll freeze at night, then melt and freeze. So that’s adding to some of the driving conditions,” Ziegler said.

Regardless of the number of times a street may be scraped flat, Ziegler said these rippled roads are unavoidable.

“Unfortunately, it’s something we live with up here,” he said.

According to AA Driver’s Educational School lead instructor Butch Evans, washboard roads can cause skidding, fishtailing and — most dangerously — hydroplaning.

“If you’re not driving prepared for winter driving you’re going to end up in a crash,” Evans said.

Evans has taught nearly 4,000 drivers in Anchorage over the past 32 years. He said the most common and dangerous mistake people make when sliding on icy roads is usually their first instinct — slamming on the brakes.

“You cannot steer sliding wheels, you can only steer rolling wheels,” Evans said.  “So, when a person gets into a slide the last thing they think about is letting the wheels roll, getting off the brake so they can have steering.”

Aside from proper training, Evans said, a driver’s first line of defense on dangerous roads is their tires. He said the more tread you have on a tire the more traction you get, which could mean the difference between an uneventful commute and ending up in a ditch, or worse.

Both Evans and Ziegler agreed the number one thing a driver can do to increase safety is simple: slow down.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Crash temporarily shuts down Seward Hwy overnight

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 23:37

    Last updated at 6:15 a.m. on Sunday, May 28 The Seward Highway was completely closed in both directions for about five hours overnight following a crash at mile 76 near Portage Glacier Road. The crash occurred sometime just before 11 p.m. and the road finally reopened to traffic around 4 a.m. Whittier police were first […]

  • News

    Jet owned by Elvis sold for $430,000 at auction

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:09

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – A private jet once owned by Elvis Presley has been auctioned after sitting on a runway in New Mexico for 35 years. GWS Auctions Inc. says the plane sold for $430,000 on Saturday at a California event featuring celebrity memorabilia. The auction house says Elvis designed the interior that has gold-tone […]

  • Politics

    Judge dismisses lawsuit against Clinton by Benghazi families

    by Associated Press on May 27, 19:02

    WASHINGTON (AP) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton filed by the parents of two Americans killed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington says the former secretary of state didn’t defame the parents when disputing allegations that she had lied. The […]

  • News

    Remains of Arkansas soldier killed in Colony Glacier plane crash returned home

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 18:52

    An Arkansas National Guardsman who was killed in plane crash in Alaska 65 years ago has finally made it home. Staff Sgt. Robert Dale Van Fossen was laid to rest Saturday in Little Rock. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson ordered flags lowered to half mast in Van Fossen’s honor. His remains were found among the wreckage of […]

  • News

    Historic planes head to Dutch Harbor to mark 75th anniversary of Aleutians battle

    by Dave Leval on May 27, 18:43

    John Pletcher’s invitation is too good to ignore — a chance for myself to get back in the sky for the first time in a while. It takes his JRF-5 Grumman Goose just seconds to take flight at Anchorage’s Merrill Field, then it’s off to Dutch Harbor, to take part in the 75th anniversary of […]

  • News

    NTSB investigating separate fatal crashes near Fairbanks, Haines

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 27, 14:46

    Last updated at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 27 Two people are confirmed dead and one is in critical condition following a fatal plane crash near the small Southeast Alaska community of Haines. Alaska State Troopers (AST) confirmed 29-year-old David Kunat of Juneau and an unnamed adult male passenger from California were killed in the crash. Chan Valentine, […]

  • News

    Feds to gain control over Kuskokwim king salmon management

    by Associated Press on May 27, 12:55

    BETHEL, Alaska (AP) – Starting next month, the management of king salmon on a southwestern Alaska river will transfer from state control to federal. KYUK-AM reports that as of June 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will begin to oversee the salmon living on lower and middle Kuskokwim River. Under federal law, the switch is […]

  • Lifestyle

    Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    by Associated Press on May 27, 11:53

    SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – A publicist for rock legend Gregg Allman says the organist and singer for The Allman Brothers Band has died. He was 69. Ken Weinstein confirmed Saturday that Allman died at his home in Savannah, Georgia. Allman had cancelled some 2016 tour dates for health reasons. In March 2017, he canceled performances […]