Ask a Dispatcher
Q. When it snows and covers the lines on the roadway people tend to drive where they think the lane is. Most of the time we all tend to follow the tracks left by the cars that have gone before us. Once the pavement has been exposed after heavy travel the lines have been exposed and show that cars have been driving half in half out of their lane. So, my question is, is it best to keep driving in the exposed path or should we be trying to drive where we know we are supposed to be driving which is between the lines, not crossing over into another lane? I tend to want to drive where we are supposed to be driving (in the middle of our own lane) and it irks me to see 95% of other drivers blatently crossing the center line when it is clearly showing. Also, on corners, like on the back loop at goat hill, people that drive in the exposed pavement tracks tend to push the other lane dangerously close to the ditch.
Dear Juneau Resident,
Not surprisingly, this issue comes up every year. You should certainly continue to drive where your lane of travel is located because should there be a collision the investigation will show you were in your own lane.
If a lane is obscured and a driver causes a collision, the placement of the car in the road will be a factor. Part of determining who is at fault may involve how far over one driver pushed another. Officers doing enforcement do have to be reasonable if lane markers are covered with snow. An example is a DWI investigation can't rely on one clue being crossing a lane marker if there are no visible lane markers. As an aside, officers then have to use other clues and weaving tire marks in snow photograph particularly well.
You keep doing what you are doing, driving defensively!