Take it slow when it snows


Cars swerve as they lose maneuverability and road friction because of the snow and ice. Fair use: Creative Commons

As I walked outside on a cold Monday morning in November, snowflakes were falling and the white powdered trees were glistening. It was a beautiful sight, but my car, on the other hand, was not. It was covered in thick snow and the windows were shielded by a layer of ice. As I sat in my driveway waiting for the defrost to kick in, I thought to myself, “how am I going to get to school today?”

I had never driven in such severe winter conditions because I got my driver’s license only recently. Finally, I pulled out of the driveway and within a hundred feet of my house I had already hit a patch of ice and began to skid. I ventured on and not two miles later, I caught sight of the red and blue flashing lights of a police car because a totaled car was in a ditch. All this and I still had 11 miles until my final destination: Mercy High School. 

Snowy conditions can limit the driver’s visibility, reduce pavement friction and maneuverability, and cause lower driving speeds, which leads to increased crash risks.Because of all the risks that the falling snow and icy roads present, I urge drivers to practice extreme caution when using the roads. According to Carsurance, when driving on snowy or icy roads, it can take a vehicle 10 times longer to stop, so it is crucial that drivers leave more stopping distance and take it slow in winter weather conditions.

I think many drivers forget that not only are they endangering themselves and the passengers of their vehicle when they drive recklessly, especially in dangerous conditions, but they are also jeopardizing the safety of fellow drivers. I know that individuals have to get to work, school, etc. but after this frightful drive to school, I cannot understand why some people value their punctuality over their safety. According to a USA Today study, Michigan was the second deadliest state for winter time car accidents between 2011 and 2015. 

“I was in a car accident recently after I hit a patch of ice and began to skid,” said junior Helena Kucera. 

Kucera had already been traveling under 25 mph because the roads were so icy and blanketed in snow. Kucera’s motor vehicle accident, fortunately, was not severe, because she was being cautious, but even overly cautious drivers cannot control their driving entirely when weather conditions are poor. 

Now that I am able to drive, I am more aware of the hazards that winter weather conditions present, which is why I urge other drivers, especially those who are newly licensed, to proceed with caution when driving in the snow and ice.