By: Aniela Gesing
The white, fluffy stuff is starting to stick to everything here in northwestern Pennsylvania, including the roads. That means the unpredictable weather conditions are going to impact your driving safety tremendously. According to thezebra.com, an average of 1,300 people are killed in icy road related crashes per year and 116,800 people are injured o n icy road weather conditions. Most sources suggest that the best way to avoid a crash in the snow is to avoid the roads altogether. However, many of us can agree staying home from school, work or any other responsibilities isn’t an option. So, let us take a look at some extra precautions you can take to remain safe all winter long.
The first step to maintaining the safest trip to wherever you are heading according to exchangeaaa.com, is remembering to accelerate and decelerate as slowly and controlled as possible. Try to give yourself extra time to travel to your intended destination because your travel time will increase depending on the severity of the roads. Stops, turns, and lane exchanges are all delayed in severe winter weather conditions. So, that means avoid tailing the person in front of you, unless you’re willing to pay for the damages. If you find yourself driving up a hill that is snow covered, try to accelerate before the hill and do not let off the gas until you have made it to the top. Stopping or slowing your acceleration in any way while climbing a hill can cause you to lose control of the car and potentially slide back down the hill.
The Squire spoke to experienced driver Mrs. Hunt, to get an insight on how she manages the winter elements while driving.
The Squire: What is the first step to driving safely in the winter?
Mrs. Hunt: Take your time and allow for space.
TS: Have you ever been in a winter car accident and how did it occur?
MH: Yes, I got caught in slush it took the back wheel of my car and spun me 360 degrees across the road and into the ditch.
TS: What is some advice you can give to someone who has lost control of their car in the event of an accident?
MH: Don’t panic and let your instinct and training kick in.
TS: Do you follow a set of standards when driving on icy roads?
MH: Slow down, and pay attention to the car in front of you.
TS: What kind of conditions are the most dangerous and most challenging to drive in?
MH: Ice, because you never know where the ice is going to be. Slush is also very dangerous because it takes less time than you might think to get taken with it.
The Squire recommends that all students follow the following safe-driving tips to avoid any unwanted accidents. If you would like to learn more about safe driving, EHS offers Drivers-Ed; consider signing up for it next year! Remember that if you do find yourself caught in an accident this winter season, immediately call 911 and remain calm.