Drive safe out there

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 - 19:00

The snow reminds us perforce, when it is falling and before the plows have had a chance at it: Take it easy.

Our roads are winding and, in some places, light-challenged, in the best of times. When temperatures are cold enough for visible snow or stealthy black ice, it’s a small matter to go into a skid. Such an eventuality can turn worse, depending on oncoming traffic and what lies along the road.

The first step to doing well in winter driving conditions is having a vehicle in shape to handle them. Make sure tires are properly inflated and up to the task. Make sure windows are cleared (the front and rear windshields, and the side windows). Have plenty of fuel — how awkward to come to a slow, painful halt in the middle of a snowy road with other cars piling up (we hope figuratively) behind us. Keep your headlights on (not the brights when there is oncoming traffic) and make sure all your lights and signals are working right.

Drive defensively. Children don’t realize it takes extra time to stop sometimes, so go slowly enough that if you need to stop suddenly, you can do so in relative safety. It might not be a child running into the street; it could be as simple as a left-turner thinking he had more time than conditions allowed to clear the oncoming lane.

Don’t be that miscalculating driver: If you need to pull into traffic, or turn left, please wait until the coast is clear.

That doesn’t mean everyone has to go 20 mph. Some people are much more comfortable driving much more slowly than most traffic. If you are one of those, please pull over when the opportunity presents itself so others can pass. Maybe in your opinion they are going too fast (and maybe they are going too fast in more than your opinion), but their rear-ending your vehicle won’t help anyone.

Let’s all help each other out this challenging-driving season. We’ll be helping ourselves as well.


-- Ketchikan Daily News

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