Seattle rarely has snow, but, when it does, the city comes to a standstill. This is true not only in the downtown area, but throughout the local region.
Why does Seattle shut down in the snow?
Based upon my experience of living in Seattle for nearly my entire life, I think there are a number of factors that cause this standstill.
First, snow is rare. The various Transportation Departments have limited equipment, training, and experience.
Our region gets lots of rain, but snow only a few times each year (if at all.)
Second, like these departments, Seattle-area drivers have little experience traveling in snow.
Not only do drivers lack experience, but they make bad driving choices. For example, Queen Anne Avenue has a very steep hill and when it snows folks still try to go down it—even when closure signs have been put out. Just the other day several cars tried to go down the hill and ended up crashed into light poles and parked cars.
Finally, the hills in Seattle—even the slightest hills—create challenges that are not seen in other regions. Snow, ice, and wind create dangerous conditions on our steep streets.
One final note: try to avoid driving near semi-trucks on wet or snowy roads. It seems like every time we get real snow in Seattle, semi-truck crashes occur.
While I can appreciate that truck drivers need to complete routes and deliveries, all too often, they take unnecessary risks. Those risks cause serious injuries and sometimes fatalities. Moving big rigs and trailers in snowy and icy conditions makes no sense. These are supposedly trained drivers, who should know better. And motor carriers should know better than to send them out in these conditions.
If you have to drive in Seattle snow, slow down and be safe.
– Attorney Kevin Coluccio