News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 17, 2013

Editorial: Take control on icy roads

Don’t be powerless in poor driving conditions

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Weather-related news reports have been punctuated the past couple weeks by gut-wrenching stories of death and serious injuries in vehicular accidents on the roadways. No part of our state and region have escaped these sad stories in which icy or snow-covered roadways have led to terrible tragedies.

Despite what some people may say, driving in wintry conditions is hard. The hazards are real, the risks ever-present. If you’re out there, you are susceptible to mishaps.

But you do not have to feel powerless against the onslaught of ice and snow. While the only way to eliminate the risks is to stay home, most of us don’t always have the option. If you have to be on the roads, you can take steps to make traveling safer for you, your passengers and everyone around you.

The Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc. recently put out the following list of ways to approach winter driving. We think it’s worth sharing:

• Stay alert, slow down, and stay in control — three key elements of safe winter driving.

• Drive according to highway and weather conditions.

•  Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.

• Make sure your vehicle is mechanically ready for the rigors of winter with a maintenance check.

• Have your tires checked before winter begins. Remember to check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather.

• Keep your fuel tank at least half full.

• Make sure you have sufficient windshield washer fluid in the reservoir that is rated a minimum of -40 degrees temperature range. Keep an extra jug in the vehicle.

• Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors, and the roof of your car before getting on the road.

The organization also offers this valuable tip: “If you are involved in an accident, remember, safety comes first. If you or someone in your vehicle is injured, do not get out of the car unless you are in immediate danger. Call the police or 911. If everyone is all right, and your cars are in traffic, move them off the street and into a safe area.”

During this respite in winter weather, now is a good time to prepare mentally and physically for the next wave, which is bound to arrive sooner rather than later. Following the above advice will get you where you need to go with less risk of accident.