How Do We Forget How To Drive When The Snow Falls In North Dakota?
I was expecting the weekend dusting of snow, but I honestly was surprised to walk out the door to straight up winter this morning. And, before I even pulled out of my parking space, I could tell that it was going to be an icy drive to work.
So, I was surprised by the wintery morning, but I was not surprised to come across people who do not know how to drive in this weather. It is like we live in a state full of brand new drivers after the first couple of snowfalls. And this happens every winter!
I was on my way to get coffee before work, and sure enough, I came across a car and a truck that either "kissed noses" or did something close to that. While I did not see exactly what happened, these guys were taking up 1.5 lanes and it could easily have been a pile-up. Thankfully, everyone else driving was able to avoid the problem.
I am fortunate enough that I have never been in an accident in my nearly fifteen years of being a licensed driver. Heck, I got my license during a North Dakota winter. Then, I lived in Colorado for a couple of years, among MOUNTAINS and snow. So, I know a thing or two about controlling my vehicle when the weather and the roads suck.
Here are some pointers about driving safely on winter roads:
- DON'T FLY DOWN THE ROAD - As my dad always says (for those with 4-wheel drive), "It's 4-wheel drive, not 4-wheel stop." So, your car may not slip around when you're accelerating, but your tires can't just grip ice when you hit the breaks. Your vehicle will most likely skate into an innocent person, who is driving for the conditions.
- DON'T CREEP DOWN THE ROAD, EITHER - For some strange reason, I come across Sunday drivers more than speed demons on the Western side of North Dakota. There is such a thing as being too cautious. Going 35 in a 60 is not necessary unless the road is on the verge of a weather-related closure. In that case, you should probably be flashing those hazard lights, anyway.
- SHARE THE ROAD - There is no need to pretend you own the road when driving in Winter conditions. Share the road with your fellow drivers, move over for mergers (when possible) and DO NOT tailgate whatsoever.
- DON'T SLAM YOUR BREAKS - Like I stated above, your car will skate across the road if it's icy. Allow yourself room to slowly slow down. Drivers MUST be thinking two-to-three steps ahead in order to ensure safety.
I may not be an "official" on road safety. But I fully believe in getting to your destination in one piece without hurting anyone or anything. What are your winter "rules of the road"?
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