Winter weather conditions call for safety awareness

GVL/Jessica Hollenbeck

Photo Illustration

Jessica Hollenbeck

GVL/Jessica Hollenbeck Photo Illustration

Rachel Cross

With winter at Grand Valley State University cames additional hazards for student drivers cruising around campus. But students can help prevent pesky accidents by becoming more aware and cautious with some useful tips for driving in the winter.

Mark Cox, director of The Bridgestone Driving School in Steamboats Springs, Co., said that being aware of proper techniques when driving in the snow is crucial for all winter drivers, including college students.

“It is important for drivers to realize that it takes four to 10 times longer to stop on ice,” Cox said. “The driver has to look that much further ahead to identify problems before they become involved.”

He added one of the important things to remember when driving on slippery surfaces is to use all controls individually at a time. Controls include the steering wheel, brakes and gas pedal.

“When going around a slippery corner there is no need to accelerate the gas while steering,” Cox said.

He also emphasized that drivers shouldn’t panic; yanking the wheel and stomping on the brake and gas pedal will only make the situation worse and won’t fix the problem.

While it is crucial to remember proper methods for handling your car in winter weather conditions, it is also important to know some pre-driving checks before hitting the roads.

“Making sure tires are properly inflated is one major pre-driving check,” Cox said. “Every 10 degrees that the temperature drops, tires can lose one pound per inch. Under-inflated tires can be dangerous, and it’s important to keep them inflated for optimum performance.”

Other additional tips to consider when driving include periodically checking the traction, or grip, when driving in slippery situations, and to avoid cruise control in wet, icy or snowy conditions. Lastly, Cox said that if the weather looks too treacherous, drivers should forgo driving.

For more information on winter weather driving tips, visit Bridgestone’s website at Demonstrative videos and info graphics are listed there.
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