Thanks to climate change, snow in Durango is now as elusive as the lynx. It’s March, and we’ve had sunny skies with temperatures in the 60s. It is perhaps this infrequency of winter weather that makes us all forget the basics of driving in the ice and snow. And for some, the problem starts before they even leave the driveway.
Over the weekend, Durango Police issued 18 citations, including one for an “obstructed windshield.” In this case, we’re talking about a driver who got behind the wheel without sufficiently clearing the ice from the windshield. “We don’t see this super often, but sometimes someone will scrape just barely enough to see out,” Cmdr. Ray Shupe said. “We also see people clean the snow off the car except the roof. You heat up the car, the metal gets warm, and as soon as they hit a stop sign, it all comes down and causes a problem. It’s fortunate that in the last couple years, we haven’t had a lot of snow events, so it’s not a huge issue.”
And no, it’s not just tourists.
Anecdotally, I can say this isn’t a new problem, and we’re not getting smarter about it. Two years ago on North Main, I saw a vehicle serendipitously stopped at a traffic light when a hunk of snow the size of a small boulder slid from the roof and settled across the windshield, which the driver furiously tried to clear with his wipers to no avail before the light turned green. It was a Subaru with Colorado plates, which led me to believe the driver in question should have known better. “What a dumb bastard,” I said to myself smugly, despite the fact that I once managed to sneak my way across town with a queen-sized mattress teetering precariously atop my roof – held in place only by a passenger and myself with one hand on the mattress and the other on the wheel – without DPD catching me. But as Randal Graves in “Clerks” once said, “There’s nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?”
An obstructed windshield carries a $35 fine with an $11 surcharge. I’d say $46 isn’t the heftiest traffic penalty, but this is also a town where the median home price is $650,000, and we all still need drinkin’ money. Drivers should also remember it’s illegal in Colorado to leave a running vehicle unattended, so you’re breaking the law unless you have a remote starter to heat up your car while you’re in the house finishing your coffee and wondering whether it’s cost of living or climate change that will force you to leave town first.
Durango’s finest said it best: “Folks, take the time to de-ice your windshield. Either warm up your vehicle (ensuring it is locked and the keys are not inside it!) or use the old-fashioned scraper and get to scrapin’. Trust us, it’s worth the extra time.”
– Jessica Pace
- Pay to play
- By Jonathan Romeo
Pickleball, trails and ski hill top City’s 2024 fun (and not so fun) budget
- Read More
- Making the rounds
- By Missy Votel
Looking for a way to leave your permanent mark on Durango? Now’s your chance ...
- Read More
- The green team
- By Kathleen O'Connor
Program makes it easier for local businesses to become sustainable
- Read More
- Thou shalt not pass
We may sound like a broken record (if anyone remembers what a record is) but some things bear repeating: winter wildlife closures on certain public lands in Durango go into effect starting Dec. 1. The closures will remain in effect through the end of April to protect wintering deer and elk who have a much harder time surviving than you with your down puffy, warm house and stocked fridge. Just saying.
- Tonight's the night
KDUR's Cover Night returns this winter, featuring the music of Neil Young
- Powered down
What's the status of the Hesperus Solar project?
- It's beginning to...
How Christmas turned into a four-month affair