Winter Driving 101

The realization was made in a split second. Hannah MacLeod, ‘15, had lost control of her vehicle. She was sliding down Wheeler Road in Hollis towards the oncoming traffic on Broad Street. Luckily, the senior managed to avoid any serious injury by turning into a snow bank to her right.

This incident is one of many that can occur while driving in the winter. 6.3 million weather-related car accidents occur every year in the United States. On top of that, inexperienced teen drivers are at greater risk of accidents than adults. This year, there are a lot of first-time drivers taking on snowy conditions at Hollis Brookline High School. Last year was a very devastating winter for the community, with nearly a dozen serious accidents on the roads. Winter driving can be dangerous if taken lightly, which is why drivers, especially teens, should be cautious.

In the halls, students and teachers were asked about safe driving tips.

Anthony Micelli, ‘16, said, “Pay attention. Don’t downshift on ice or snow if you drive a standard.” Doing so would cause loss of traction and cause the vehicle to lose control.

Even history teacher Becky Balfour shared some advice,“Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going.”

“Drive with snow tires, and allow extra distance for breaking,” added School Resource Officer Rick Bergeron.

“Buckle up, smile and have a good safe time,” said Matt Fothergill, ‘15.

Out of many New England states, New Hampshire seems to have a lower rate of winter driving fatalities/accidents. This may be true, but consider the fact that there have been many accidents in the past couple of years. When you journey onto the frozen roads, you are putting your own life behind the wheel. Tires and speed are major factors when dealing with winter weather. Do NOT anticipate that winter/seasonal tires will benefit your safety on the road. There are plenty of people who have crashed with those specific types of tires. Drive with caution.

“4-wheel drive does not make you invincible,” said Wes Mansfield, ‘15. Driving any 4-wheel or all-wheel drive car does not mean the vehicle will not lose any traction. It is important to always drive with caution, no matter what kind of car you own. .

“Take it slow,” said Tommy Johnson, ‘15. Speed is a major factor when it comes to driving in harsh winter conditions.

If you’re planning on “winterizing” your car for this upcoming winter, here are some helpful tips to keep you and your passengers safe on the road. First, you will want to schedule a maintenance checkup on your vehicles tires and tire pressure. Wipers, oil, breaks, lights, exhaust, belts and hoses, and ignition should also be looked at with the maintenance checkup.

There are many dangers in New England winter driving. And an ill-prepared, new driver can have valid reasons to worry. However, there are ways to slip through storms and ice unscathed, at any experience level, provided that the right steps are taken.