Icy roads ahead, prepare for Missouri’s winter weather

Connor Lamora

Driving can be a fun and exhilarating experience. However, new and experienced drivers alike all can relate to that feeling you get when rain starts to pour, snow and ice begin to fall and freeze onto the ground, and dense fog blinds those behind the wheel. In order to fully counter Mother Nature’s tricks, you have to understand how to prepare yourself and control your surroundings to best combat against the weather.
Rain is the most dangerous weather condition for drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 5,000 people a year are killed and over 418,000 are injured due to weather related incidents, with 70% coming from wet pavements and 46% during rainfall.
Giving yourself enough time to stop while driving in the rain and watching out for puddles ensures a safe travel. Driving in middle lanes can also help, as water from rainfall tends to build up and flow towards the sides of the road, creating large puddles. Finally, slowing down and checking that your tires are properly inflated can help prevent you and your vehicle from hydroplaning.
Fog can also be a hassle to drive in. While some may think to turn your brights on, keeping your low beams on is the right move. When high beams are on, they direct their light upwards, bouncing off the fog and reducing visibility. If the fog is too dense and visibility is drastically reduced, slowing down and turning on turn signals earlier on can help signal those behind you. Even pulling off and not driving altogether can be your best choice.
Although troubling, snow and ice can be combated as well. Black ice, a thin transparent coating of glaze ice on a surface, is harder to see with the naked eye because it blends in with the black road underneath. Testing out your brakes and turning corners slowly ensures a safer travel. Practicing in empty car lots when snow or ice is present can help accustom you to how well your car works in the weather and how it feels to drive in it. Keeping your gas up so your gas line doesn’t freeze and checking your car for any other various problems should be a go-to before driving in icy weather. Making sure to gradually accelerate can help make sure your car tires don’t spin out.
Remembering to equip yourself with tools for your car ensures that in any incident, you’re prepared in some way. Driving defensively and watching out for trouble on the road helps determine potential threats and obstacles you may come into contact with.