The Slippery Road of Driving During the Holidays


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Mountain side road with built up smooth ice.

As the winter season draws closer, snow will become more consistent and so will icy roads. This issue is only amplified by the school’s winter break quickly approaching because of the distant travels and unknown roads that it brings. When driving in unfamiliar areas, it can lead to a sense of confusion on the drive. By having unknown speed limits, not knowing what turns to take, how the stoplights are timed, or even the general way that people drive in that area can be incredibly hazardous to new or even experienced drivers.

With every year bringing in over 150,000 car crashes due to icy roads, safety is a big concern. Knowing the route to a destination down to every turn is extremely important. With that said, it is crucial to leave plenty of time to get to one’s destination, so there’s no problem with driving slowly or being cautious of other drivers. Being rushed to a destination is the easiest way to cause an accident, so never leave last minute!

So what steps can be taken to keep someone safe and comfortable during a long drive in the winter?

One of the most simple things to help a car’s tires perform well during the winter season is to constantly check their air pressure. This will help maintain their usual traction and will assist with braking. Another important step is to get the car’s battery checked. Its performance will quickly degrade as temperatures get lower, so making sure it stays at its peak will help the car run smoother.

One thing that might not be super important for short drives, but will be a bonus for longer drives would be to get the heating system checked. This will keep the car at a bearable temperature for its passengers and will keep them safe if they were to crash into a snow pile or get strained on the side of the road.

But what about steps for being out on the road?

The most obvious answer is to drive slower than even the speed limit suggests. Driving slowly makes sure the wheels will have an easier time gripping onto the road, and enough time to brake without losing grip. Driving slowly will also help with preventing the car from making sudden jerky movements when changing lanes, making turns, and going through an off-ramp with a sharp turn. When driving behind another vehicle, the further away you are from the vehicle the better since this allows for plenty of time to slow the car down or move out of the way if something were to happen. Although these tips are useful in the real world,  AAHS teacher, Richard Thiele, believes otherwise.

“Just avoid driving on icy roads, and be prepared with supplies during a winter storm in case you get stuck out on the road. I always bring my camping gear and winter survival gear when I drive in the winter,” Thiele stated.

Even though Colorado has exceeded its longest-running time without snowfall, that does not mean the roads will remain nice forever. It is easy to make sure it’s the right time to go for a drive, by taking extra time in checking the route, checking for accidents, and making sure the car is in the right condition for driving on icy roads to avoid an accident over the holidays.