Safe Driving during the Winter

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Bad weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter, according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. It is our duty as drivers to know the safety rules for dealing with these winter circumstances. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Indiana was a top state for winter car accidents from 2011-2015. The winter season is a special time for many people; it is a time for holiday cheer and celebration. It is also the coldest season of the year, bringing new elements and conditions. With the holidays approaching, many students will soon be traveling to visit family and friends over the winter break. 

Here at the University of Indianapolis, there are many students that are not from the area or commute to school. Even for the people that are familiar with Indiana weather, it can be unpredictable. One day it will be sunny and 75 degrees, and the next day it could be snowing and 30 degrees. This is the reality that us Hoosiers have to deal with on a daily basis. For those students from outside of the state, this may be something difficult to comprehend. 

Severe weather can be both frightening and dangerous for drivers. I personally drive a 2008 Hyundai Sonata and it is not the best car to drive in such weather. My car is old and reliable, doing well in the cold, but when the roads are wet or covered in snow, it can only do so much. I have noticed that if I drive too fast my rear tires tend to spin out of control as they don’t have the same grip.

My advice in terms of safe driving in the winter is to be smart and reasonable. Like anything in this world, use your brain and be cautious of your surroundings. The slippery roads may be tempting for some of us to try some “Fast and Furious” type moves, but these conditions are an even bigger reason to not do such actions. I remember a time where I was in a rush to get home because the weather was getting bad. I was about 15 minutes away and the snow continued to come down. The roads were already icy, and as it was getting even more difficult to see out of my windshield window, I did everything in my power to get home as soon as possible. This attempt lasted for about five minutes before I almost drove off the road. When this happened, I pulled into the closest gas station and parked my car until the weather cleared up and I was confident enough to get back on the road.

While I was in a rush to get to my destination, I made the split-second decision to stop driving in that questionable weather altogether. This may not be an easy decision for some of us who may be traveling to jobs that require you to be punctual, meetings that you absolutely cannot miss or any things of this sort. However, we need to understand that our lives are more important than those jobs or meetings that we have been so blinded by that we put them ahead of our own well-being. Ever since this incident, any time it gets a little slick on the roads, I am fully aware that it will be a tough day behind the wheel. Being aware of how your car handles certain types of weather is extremely important. 

Take your time on the roads this winter season. Your loved ones want to see you as soon as possible, but make sure that you are getting to them safe and sound. By following these tips we can all have a safe holiday break.

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