It’s that time of year again everybody. Winter driving season is once again upon us and it’s a whole new world for drivers across the region. Snow, yes, snow, and dangerous roads. The Rhode Island State Police and police departments everywhere tell us again and again to take precautions when driving during poor weather conditions, and for the most part, a lot of us take notice and drive carefully under these poor weather and road conditions.
But not all of us. I see it all the time because I have to travel on these roadways regardless of poor weather conditions and snow covered roadways: bad drivers speeding down these dangerous roads thinking that nothing will ever happen to them. (It seems to happen) especially with drivers in SUV’s and 4-wheel drive vehicles. Hey! Just because you are driving a vehicle that can get through snowy roadways because of the way that vehicle is manufactured does not mean that you know how to drive them properly. Slow down! I see these same vehicles off the side of the roads ditched because the driver knows squat about properly driving them on snowy roads: jeeps flipped over and truck drivers losing control because of improper speeds. Guess what? Ice is still ice. (It) doesn’t matter what you drive, ice wins!
Another thing I see constantly is vehicles covered with snow and ice driving down the roadways with a cleared off section of the windshield in front of the driver so that the driver can see. Well, that foot of snow covering the rest of your vehicle can become a solid projectile at a high rate of speed and end up on somebody else’s windshield or vehicle, potentially causing them to lose control of their vehicle and crash behind you. Even worse, (it could) hit a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk and potentially cause them harm just because you didn’t take the time to clear off your vehicle before leaving your home. Clean the snow off of your vehicle! Police officers and first responders are often out on the roadways during these poor weather conditions assisting stranded and broken down vehicle drivers and accident victims, and rely on you to be a safe driver and avoid hitting them while they are out doing their jobs and protecting the public during these poor weather conditions. So what if it takes you a little longer to arrive at your destination. Arriving there safely should be your number one thought process. Watch for police officers and first responders flashing vehicle lights while driving on snowy and slick roads. Their lives depend on it. Drive cautiously. Clear all of the snow off of your vehicle. Don’t text while driving and give yourself plenty of distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, just in case something dangerous happens. You can react better to the situation and stay safe. Don’t tailgate or crowd other drivers.
Dangerous roads are no joke and the poor weather conditions and bad roadways are part of the New England winter driving experience. There is no getting around it if you are a driver on our roadways during the winter months.
Drive safe, drive serious! Lives depend on it. Oh yeah, just in case you didn’t already know this: Buckle up!
Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort