Driver safety tips to combat winter roads

NOW: Driver safety tips to combat winter roads

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- After watching over your child all of their life, eventually the time comes to hand them the keys to a car, and a lot of responsibility can come with it. During these winter months, driver safety is more important than ever.  However, whether it might be a teen or an adult, there is one theme in common…slow down.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), crashes are still the leading cause of teen deaths. Teenagers are at an especially high risk to speed, or get distracted very easily. Now as road conditions worsen in the winter months, being an alert driver is more important than ever.

Arnold Horowitz, President of DrivRite, a driver’s education program in Mishawaka says the biggest mistake he sees is teenagers not maintaining following distance. For the roads during the winter season, there should be 4 or 5 seconds between drivers.

“They think they can go to the speed limits regardless if its dry or wet or snow-covered pavement, and they just need to slow down. They have to use what they call a basic speed law where they drive according to the conditions not according to the limit,” says Horowitz.  

While road conditions are one thing to be aware of, what about when an animal might run into your path?

“What I will do is if a little small critter runs out in front of me, I aim for the animal. By the time I get there, he is gone. It is the people who dodge one way or the other who actually confuse the animal,” says Horowitz.   

While animals running into the road often times is unavoidable, Horowitz explains staying alert can make all of the difference.

“At night it is a little bit different because they look at those headlights, and are almost paralyzed by those lights, so then I might dodge but not at the extent something worse is going to happen,” says Horowitz.

The NHTSA reports that distracted driving have taken the lives of 2,841 people and that same year 400,000 people were injured due to distracted drivers.  Being alert is the first step to driver safety, but of course there are other precautions to consider.

The first step to safe driving is making sure your mirrors are in place and distractions are put away. Next, it is all about your control of the wheel. Horowitz explains steering the wheel in the direction you want to go especially when skidding on these winter roads can make all of the difference.

You can find further information regarding DrivRite’s programs here.

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