Opinion

Editorial: Give us easy chains

Whidbey Island’s huge snowfall in December once again leaves us wondering, why are tire chains so hard to put on?

The snow and ice got so bad that the only people getting around safely were those with chains on their cars. After spending 30 minutes on their backs wrestling chains in the cold garage, they buzzed down the roads confidently while the vast majority of motorists took their chances without chains. Some got stuck in their driveways, others made it to the main county road before falling into the ditch, while others managed to get to their destination by slipping, sliding and trusting their fate to a higher power.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone invented a set of tire chains that went on easily? It’s been tried, of course, but if anyone’s succeed we haven’t heard about it. Nor has most of the motoring public. We hear chains slapping the underside of cars as they pass by, and see bits of chains lying alongside the roads. It’s obvious that the perfect set of chains is still waiting to be invented.

Even Island Transit didn’t bother chaining up, perhaps because it’s too complicated a process, or maybe it’s that there’s no guarantee the chains will stay in place and they want to avoid the liability of whipping some prospective bus rider with metal links. For various reasons, the vast majority of the vehicles on snowy, icy Whidbey Island roads ventured out without chains.

The government plans to spend billions in the coming years to encourage electric cars, hybrid cars, hydrogen-powered cars and solar-powered cars. But how about setting aside a few million for the person who invents a set of chains that any fool can put on in a minute or two, and that will stay on until removed. Now that would be progress.

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