‘Tis the season to stay safe on winter roads

Shad Granger, Staff

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Winter driving is something all Iowa drivers have to deal with. Winter roads can be very dangerous at times, even when the roads look fine. There are several precautions students can take before driving into a storm, or after a storm in the cold weather.


“Keeping enough fuel in gas tank,” said Gary Schuler, “Never let the gas level go under 1/2 a tank in winter driving.  That way if you get stranded somewhere, you have some fuel to run the car periodically.”


If there is an occasion where we have school and you know that you cannot make it to school due to the weather conditions it is better to be safe than sorry. “It would be easier to miss a day of school than it would be to take a chance of injuring or risking your life driving in bad weather conditions.” said student Harley Carberry.


“Always be aware of the forecast,” said Schuler, “If there is snow in the forecast, one might want to cancel plans or cut them short depending on the amount of snow expected and the distance traveled.”


I spoke with some people in my life that drive trucks during the winter time for work and asked them if they could provide some of their best advice for winter driving. I spoke with Matt Hughey and Barry Jacobsen of Bridgestone tire to get their input on the importance of winter driving safety.


“In the winter, people tend to drive slower adjusting themselves to the driving conditions. You shouldn’t try to pass on icy roads unless and emergency is in effect,” said winter truck driver Barry Jacobsen “If you must pass someone on the roads, you should hit your hazard lights and pass as efficiently and effectively as possible. It is not recommended to pass on icy roads for your safety.”


“In winter driving, it takes longer to speed up and to slow down,” said Schuler, “Take your time and increase your following distance to about double what you normally allow.” Snow provides a little more traction than pure ice. Be very careful on ice covered roads or better yet, do not travel.


“If you find yourself losing traction, you will find the most traction on the right side of the road with rumble strips, and gravel so your tires have something to grip onto. Four wheel drive is nice to have on your vehicle, but will not get you out of situations involving ice” said winter truck driver Matt Hughey, “Even though it has snowed already this year, it seems as if people drive really wacky, and different after the first snow happens.”  


“Everyone forgets about sliding and not being able to start or stop as quickly as they did with dry streets,” said Schuler, “Remember, it is better to change or cancel plans than to take a chance with winter driving.”