Confidence Driving in the Snow

January 26, 2023

Everything was fine. There wasn’t even any ice on the road– it was just wet, right? Well, now the car is in a ditch and there is no telling when it will be pulled out. One of the tires is leaking air and there might be a dent on the side. All of this could have been avoidable if the driver had known more about driving in unsafe conditions.

In 2022, 139 people were killed in 130 crashes (Union Leader). Not all of these were related to bad road conditions, though. Bad road conditions and poorly-maintained roads cause “half of the fatal auto accidents that happen each year in the US.”  (Greg Coleman Law). 

High schools, such as Hollis Brookline, pose a huge risk for accidents. Every day, new drivers congregate in one spot– coming and going all at the same time. Many of these drivers have had less than a year of experience and a few are still on temporarily-issued licenses.

The lack of experience is the main issue for drivers at our school. Many students haven’t needed to drive on untreated roads or sleet before. This makes a commute that experienced drivers could make with relative ease more difficult– or simply scary for high schoolers. 

We all remember the day we should have had off– December 16th. Rain turned into snow and puddles turned into ice. There had been at least three crashes that morning– possibly up to five.

Riley Scanlon ‘23, believes we should have had that day off: “The elementary school was canceled, they don’t even drive– we should have had an early release or something”.

The chart featured in this article asks Juniors and Seniors of our school to think back to that day. They were anonymously asked how comfortable they would be driving in those conditions. If they answered one, that would mean they are not comfortable at all. A five would mean that they could do it with complete ease and confidence.

On average, three was the most common response, with two closely following.

Anna Fauteux ‘23 said, “Now that I’ve done the worst, I’m more confident”, after narrowly avoiding crashing that morning.

But how can drivers prevent accidents or damage? Human error, vehicle failures, and bad road and weather conditions are the main causes of car accidents. 

The single best thing a driver can do is prevent. Keep up wth car maintenance, refrain from driving when applicable and carpool when possible. Slow down before turns, accelerate slowly, and above all else– don’t slam on your brakes. Drive safe!

How comfortable students feel driving in Winter Conditions
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