Greetings and welcome to a new semester at Parkland College. The Parkland College Department of Public Safety is here to provide a safe and secure campus environment conducive to learning. Every week throughout the year we’ll be releasing a new public safety message. These messages will cover a variety of topics from crime prevention to disaster awareness, all focused on providing applicable information that you can use to stay safe and have a successful experience here at Parkland.
Our first message this week: Winter driving, and how to do it safely.
It may not really feel like it today, but we’re in the middle of winter, which means driving on the roadway can be more dangerous if you’ve not taken the necessary precautions. How can you keep safe on the road? Here are our top 12 tips:
12. Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights—even the hood and roof—before driving.
11. Leave plenty of room for stopping.
10. Pay attention; don’t try to outdrive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
9. Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
8. Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approaching road.
7. Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter, since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line. Be aware of this when exiting the highway.
6. Don’t use the “cruise control” option when driving in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the slightest touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
5. Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle’s traction. Driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle may help you get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any quicker. Many 4x4s are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop.
4. Look further ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you a split-second of extra time to react safely.
3. Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
2. Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows! Stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.
1. Most importantly…Please, remember to SLOW DOWN! Also, seat belts should be worn at all times; it’s the law.
[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]