Driving safely during a Kansas winter

Driving safely during a Kansas winter

By Jolene Moore / Staff Writer

Around this time of year when we are all preparing for the holiday season we tend to forget about how the season and weather changes in the blink of an eye. Here in Kansas it can go from 50 degrees and suddenly drop to 20 with strong gusts of wind. If you have lived in Kansas for awhile, you aren’t indifferent to the changing ways she can take but if you’re from out of town it might take you by surprise.

One particular part of the weather that people tend to over look is how it affects road conditions. When the skies are clear and there hasn’t been a drop of rain all day with 70 degree weather you’re just fine.

But when it mists overnight and drops temperature to a freezing 30 degrees, you can find it hard to drive on the roads. Around 3,000 car accidents happen every year between the months of November and March due to ice or snow on the road.

Many drivers might believe they are experienced enough drivers to handle the dangerous roads covered in a thick layer of ice or slush but some prove that that is not the case. When you’re driving in road conditions that include black ice, which is a thin layer of ice on top of asphalt that is almost invisible to a human eye while driving, you need to remember to slow down.

The speed limit may say to go 55; but, when driving with slick elements that have the tendency to make your tires lose traction, it is more safe to drive at least 15 to 20 miles under the posted speed limit. All while allowing yourself plenty of time to stop. Which means try to brake for lights, signs, or other cars when you’re at least 100 if more feet away. This will allow your cars tires to slowly gain traction on the ice or slush so that you won’t slide into traffic.

Bridges especially need to be the part of the road you are most cautious on.

Since they float several feet off the ground, the ice that accumulates on top of the road doesn’t melt as fast as it would on a regular road. So, when going over a bridge, make sure to have both hands on the wheel and your speed drops at least 20 under the posted limit.

You may feel like you know how to handle Mother Nature and her ice, but being safe and cautious is always the better route. Even the most experienced drivers have gotten into a wreck at one point or another and somethings those wrecks don’t end with everyone walking away.

Please be safe and cautious when driving in bad conditions. Allow yourself time to drive slow to wherever you’re going because you arriving safely is the best gift you can give someone.

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