GEE AND URSULA

Should unprepared drivers be stopped from going over the pass?

Dec 10, 2021, 12:42 PM
snoqualmie pass...
Snow plows out on Snoqualmie Pass in December 2021. (Photo courtesy of SnoqualmiePass/Twitter)
(Photo courtesy of SnoqualmiePass/Twitter)

It’s expected to be stormy this weekend, and that usually spells trouble for the mountain passes.

Drivers frustrated as they wait for Snoqualmie Pass to reopen

It has already been a frustrating week for drivers going over Snoqualmie Pass because of spinouts that have shut down the highway in both directions.

While some drivers blame the closures on unprepared drivers traveling without chains, all-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive, others tell KIRO 7 TV they’re worried that staffing shortages at the state transportation department will mean fewer and slower plows on the road this winter.

WSDOT workforce shortage could mean more closed roads this winter

So, as KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show asked, should we get tougher on people who attempt to go over mountain passes totally unprepared?

Host Gee Scott says yes.

“We do it in a very simple way,” he suggested. “No, don’t give them tickets. No, don’t have a state trooper there to flag someone if they don’t do it. Now, if you roll over into a ditch, if you cause an accident out there with no chains on your tires and are not properly prepared, then the money that it costs the state to come to you is billed to you.”

“That’s a terrible idea,” producer Andrew Lanier replied.

“You’re not going to get a ticket. But if you expect tax dollars to help you out of that ditch because you chose not to have the snow tires, then you’re paying for it,” Gee said. “Why are we paying for your carelessness?”

“But what about the people who are still going to be stuck in traffic? How about just stopping them before they even get close to the pass and just say, ‘look, you’re not prepared,'” host Ursula Reutin said.

And, she says, when they say chains required, enforce that chains are required.

“You know what the problem is in this country? We don’t ever want to take care of things,” Gee said. “We always want to give a ‘yeah, but,’ to these situations.”

“That doesn’t fix the problem, that creates a punitive punishment for people who may not have the means to put snow tires on their car,” Lanier said about Gee’s idea. “I’d rather they just not have the option of getting on the pass in the first place.”

“Yes, don’t get on the pass,” Ursula agreed.

Gee argued people are usually too lazy to go get snow tires, not that they don’t have the means.

“Did you get decaf this morning? You’re feisty,” Lanier joked.

Find winter driving tips from the Washington State Department of Transportation online here.

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Should unprepared drivers be stopped from going over the pass?