During the winter, students should take certain precautions when braving the freezing weather and the hazardous roads.
According to Sciencedaily.com, about 24 percent of all accidents occur during hazardous weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and ice.
Puyallup is expected to continue to see stormy weather and snowfall throughout January and well into February. Students are encouraged to handle themselves carefully until poor driving conditions have passed.
Before setting out in the morning, you will likely need to de-ice your vehicle. Make sure that you give yourself time to properly warm your car, as a cold start (“get in and go”) can be harsh on the engine. Start by turning the car on and your defrosters on high. Then let it sit for three to five minutes as you scrape any ice off of the outside windows. By the time the windows have been scraped, the car should be nice and warm. This is essential in ensuring that the vehicle has a long life.
Many factors should be considered regarding the decrease in safety during the course of the winter season. Young drivers are generally not as comfortable dealing with harsh weather conditions as they are under safer circumstances. This often leads to poor driving decisions being made. When decisions produce results in less than a fraction of a second, making mistakes can prove deadly.
Multitudes of strategies exist to alleviate many of the dangers that stem from nerves associated with the weather. For one, always remember to take it slow. The person in front of you and the person behind you are not in control of your vehicle—you are. When possible, opt to stay in the right lane. Let your level of comfort dictate your speed. Don’t attempt to pass another car when you are in this situation.
Icy conditions could cause a vehicle to slide on the road. If the roads are even the slightest bit icy, never slam on the vehicle’s brakes—the wheels could spin, causing the car to slide.
By using defensive driving tactics you can keep yourself from being in the position of needing to slam on your brakes. Good driving technique suggests roughly three seconds distance between you and the car in front of you. If the roads are icy, add two to three seconds. If you are nervous, add two to three seconds. Be generous—staying 10 seconds behind other vehicles will be nothing but advantageous.
If available, always keep a cell phone with you. If you are ever in a position where you do not know what to do, call for help. Were an accident to happen on campus, the campus safety staff can help. Safety officers are available from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
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