• 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

    Alaskans testify on proposed budget

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 22, 17:48

    Alaskans got a chance to sound off on the state budget Friday, and many say they hoped state legislators were listening. The House Finance Committee held a public hearing on the latest budget proposal, House Bill 2001. Restoring funding cuts to public education was one theme heard repeatedly. Majority Republicans and Minority Democrats in the House […]

  • Lifestyle

    Heroin Hits Home: “If you see something, say something”

    by Daysha Eaton / KYUK Radio on May 22, 16:59

    This story originates from KYUK Public Media and was published with permission. BETHEL — Federal officials say they intercepted nearly ten times as much heroin coming into Alaska in 2014 than compared to 2013. State law enforcement officials say heroin gets into Bethel mainly on low-security, small airline passenger flights. This is the final story in a […]

  • Crime

    Mother pleads not guilty to assaulting child on plane

    by Associated Press on May 22, 15:49

    A mother is pleading not guilty to allegations that she physically and verbally assaulted her 15-month-old daughter during an Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage, Alaska, to Honolulu. A criminal complaint says Samantha Leialoha Watanabe cursed at the toddler, smacked her in the back of the head, pinched her and pulled out bits of her hair […]

  • News

    Gov. signs second disaster declaration as flooding keeps Dalton Highway closed

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 22, 15:42

    After declaring a state disaster in April over unprecedented flooding on the Dalton Highway, Gov. Bill Walker signed a second disaster proclamation Friday in Deadhorse for the entire North Slope Borough. In a statement issued Friday by the Governor’s Office, Walker elaborates on why the second declaration is needed: “I issued my first disaster declaration […]

  • Lifestyle

    Alaska tentative choice for long-range US radar system

    by Associated Press on May 22, 15:21

    The U.S. Department of Defense has tentatively identified an Air Force station in Alaska is its preferred location for a radar system to track airborne missile threats. Members of Alaska’s congressional delegation lauded the choice of Clear Air Force Station, near Anderson, in interior Alaska, as the potential location for the long-range radar system. U.S. […]

  • News

    Official: Seattle Shell protests caused environmental damage

    by Associated Press on May 22, 14:09

    An official with Washington state’s Department of Natural Resources says Seattle activists protesting Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic did some environmental damage to a popular dive park. KIRO radio reports (http://is.gd/5xaVyK) people left behind material they used to anchor their protest barge while kayakers protested last weekend near the Shell oil […]

  • News

    Investigation underway after Anchorage inmate dies

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 22, 12:15

    Alaska State Troopers are investigating an Anchorage inmate’s death. Alexis Hathaway, 26, was pronounced dead Thursday at 10:42 p.m., according to Sherrie Daigle, spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Corrections. Two nearby inmates told corrections officers Hathaway was having difficulty breathing about an hour before his death, Daigle said. Medics responded and Hathaway was taken to […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Red Cap and the Cyser Boys

    by Daybreak Staff on May 22, 11:47

    Bringing Celtic sounds to Anchorage, Red Cap and the Cyser Boys are made up of members of the Richardson family: brothers Chris, Mike and Ben and their dad, better known as Grandpa Richardson, who has played the fiddle for more than 30 years. The family affair started when the brothers moved to Alaska in their […]