The Hazards of Winter Driving: Icy and Foggy Conditions Can Be Deadly

Acxel Vargas, Reporter

As winter weather brings icy and foggy conditions to the area, it is important to be aware of the dangers of driving in these conditions.

Icy roads can be very dangerous for drivers and can cause a vehicle to slide and lose control, especially when brakes are applied. Drivers should be especially cautious on bridges and overpasses, as these surfaces tend to freeze earlier than other roadways.

Fog can also be a significant danger for drivers. Reduced visibility can make it difficult to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and even road signs. Drivers should reduce speeds in foggy conditions and use extra caution when navigating intersections and turns. When interviewed, Santino Ramirez said, “One major problem I constantly battle with during the time there is fog on the road is high beams; they make seeing much more complicated.”

To stay safe in icy and foggy conditions, drivers should be sure to be prepared before hitting the roads. Make sure that all lights and windshield wipers are working properly. When interviewing Ag Foods teacher, Mr. McCullough said, “When my wife and I were driving to Texas, we had a trailer attached and while going over an overpass, the truck and trailer would wobble all over. It was windy, icy, and safety was a big issue.” Be sure to have an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes a flashlight, flares, a blanket, a shovel, and other items that may be useful in an emergency. Additionally, it is important to make sure that tires are properly inflated and that the tread is in good condition.

It is also wise to reduce speeds and increase following distances to ensure that drivers have sufficient time to stop and avoid a collision.

Winter can be a tricky time of year to drive, especially when the weather creates dangerous conditions like fog and icy roads. While driving in these conditions can be unavoidable, there are some tips that all drivers should follow to ensure their safety. 

First and foremost, always slow down. Even if you are familiar with the roads, fog and icy roads can make them unrecognizable. Fog can reduce visibility significantly, while icy roads can increase the braking distance of a vehicle. Slowing down will give you more time to react to any potential hazards that may arise. 

Second, use your headlights, but be careful not to use your high beams as this can reflect off the fog and make it even harder to see. Make sure your headlights are clean and working properly, and that you have functioning fog lights, if your vehicle is equipped with them. 

Third, be aware of the road and other drivers. Be sure to leave extra distance between you and the car in front of you, and watch for other drivers who may be driving too fast for the conditions. If possible, try to stay in the middle of the lane and avoid making sudden movements.

As LB Tigers begin their vacations, traveling will be part of their agenda for the holidays.  Plan accordingly, check the weather, and give yourself time to get to where you need to be, safely.