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WINTER DRIVING HAZARDS

METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY

There are several driving hazards that occur due to winter weather. This writing goes over several of the hazards that can occur, how it makes driving more dangerous, and potential steps to reducing the problem.

Fog: Fog is common in the winter since the colder temperatures make it easier for the temperature to cool to the dew point, especially overnight. Fog makes driving more dangerous since it reduces how far that can be seen in the distance. This can make it more difficult to see oncoming cars and to sense when cars are breaking in front of you. Potential steps that can reduce the problem is to reduce speed, make sure lights are in (even in the day), knowing where the car is in front of you (or if no car is seen being very cautious of a car that may decrease speed in front of you at any moment), having good tires and clear windows, and being very mindful of all the cars around you.

Ice/Snow: Ice on roads is a major contributor to accidents. Ice results in a longer stopping distance and can cause a car to lose control. Falling snow will reduce visibility. Potential steps that can reduce traffic accidents is to keep a distance from neighboring cars, reduce speed, have lights on, have good tires, clear windows, allow for longer breaking distances, extra caution when changing lanes or turning, and donít be out on the roads at all if possible.

Rain: Rain is also a contributor to increased accidents. There are several ways rain increases driving hazards. First, it can combine with oils on the ground making it slicker. Second, the wetness of the rain itself will make the roads slicker. Third, it can decrease the visibility around you when driving. Fourth, water on the windows can make it more difficult to see through certain windows. Potential steps that can reduce traffic accidents in rain is to keep a distance from neighboring cars, reduce speed, have lights on, allow for longer breaking distances, take extra caution when changing lanes or turning, and have good tires and windshield wipers.