Tips for safe winter driving

I’m sure we are all under the same impression. Kansas skipped fall altogether and jumped right into winter. No matter how annoying that may be, it is important to embrace this miniature ice age in the safest way possible.

Driving in the winter and ice is one of the most hazardous and dangerous conditions to for driving, especially in a state where our winters may get really bad. The National Weather Service recorded the earliest snowfall ever in Kansas City, predicting a relatively long winter ahead for the surrounding areas.

The USDOT Federal Highway Administration data lists an average of 1,836 deaths and 136,309 injuries per year due to snow and icy roads. It is important to take precautionary steps when driving as to lower your risk of getting in an accident. 

There are several different methods you can engage in to prepare your car and yourself for driving on slick roads. Some of the best advice comes from right here at home.

Lauren Edelman, associate director and lecturer for the Leadership Institute, said one thing she always does to help herself and others when on the road is. 

“Make sure your car is properly cleaned off before you hit the road,” Edelman said. “So many people drive around with blind spots because they don’t take the time to clean off their windshield or windows and it’s very dangerous.”

Sometimes it is hard to remember what kind of impact poor driving can have, so here’s a reminder, your faulty driving does not only affect you. Being an unsafe driver can cause catastrophe for someone else and completely alter the lives of others.

Some helpful tips can be found in a plethora of different places from your family, your friends or even the internet.

One of the most popular tips is installing winter tires. Sometimes, that is easier said than done, am I right college students? While being semi-costly, it is still one of the best methods for safe driving on snow and ice.

Another highly recommended tip for those mornings that you are in a rush and you don’t have time to wait for your car to defrost is rubbing alcohol. Putting rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle is said to be a much faster way to defrost your windshield. It reportedly works far more efficiently, being faster and more effective than an ice scraper.

The third top recommendation is kitty litter. Even though it may sound silly, keeping a few bags of kitty litter or even sand in the trunk of your car has a couple of benefits. It adds weight in the back of the vehicle, which is beneficial for rear-wheel vehicles, so there is more traction. It also can be poured around your tires for extra traction if you find yourself stuck in snow or ice.

A good recommendation from one of Washburn’s students, Marissa Wagner, is to be prepared with supplies.

“Always carry a winter kit,” Wagner said. “I carry several things in mine, a flashlight, an ice scraper, gloves, even a blanket.”

Above all else, it is important to stay safe this winter. Practicing safe winter driving techniques could potentially save your life and others as well.