Road safety in winter

Oliver Stutzman, Staff Reporter

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Throughout the school year at De Soto High School, many students take drivers education and earn a learner’s permit if they don’t already have their restricted license. Because of this, there aren’t many experienced drivers walking around the halls besides teachers.

Inexperienced drivers may come across harsh weather during the winter. Roads covered with snow, ice or water reduce traction and can cause someone to lose control of their car.

“Sometimes for teenagers, they tend to drive a little too fast even when it’s 80 degrees and sunny,”  health teacher DeAnn Thaemert said. “If they’re going a little too fast for the conditions, it can be a dangerous situation.”

Accidents are very common during the winter, yet people tend to be unprepared for these situations. Even if the road appears to be clear, there is still the possibility of black ice. Driving over black ice with old tires will minimize the traction between a car and the road, causing accidents.

Having tools in a car can be beneficial if someone comes across dangerous driving conditions. Ice scrapers, blankets, jumper cables and even kitty litter can be utilized after getting into an accident. If a person veers into a snowy or muddy ditch, kitty litter or sand can be used to gain extra traction under the tires.

A good way to prepare for driving in harsh weather is to ask experienced drivers for advice. Parents, other family members, co-workers and even DHS teachers can provide tips for driving in the winter.

“Be a defensive driver. Make sure you’re paying attention to other people. Don’t assume that other people will or even can stop,” science teacher Kylee Sharp said.

Teenagers may be more likely to get in an accident during winter, but there are many ways to prepare for bad weather. Wearing seatbelts, having tools and packing extra clothes in a car help to increase a person’s ability to be stay safe on the roads during winter before and after an accident. These things are fairly cheap and can be stored in tight spaces.

Students should prepare for the increasingly colder and more dangerous weather by gathering up these items. Parents can also consider putting new tires on their children’s cars to make sure they have the best traction possible in icy weather.

 

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