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Slow down and drive safe

February 23, 2012
Estherville Daily News

With winter rerearing its ugly head lately, it's time to rethink our driving habits.

With an atypically mild winter, a lot of us have forgotten that winter driving can be just plain miserable. A good case in point was the trip to the girls basketball game in Algona the other night when slush-covered roads pulled more than one vehicle into the ditch.

So, yes, here again are some tips to follow:

n Take extra time. That trip to Algona that usually takes an hour? Well, it was more like an hour and a half. The same goes for when you're driving to work each day. Adding just another 10 or 15 minutes could make for a drive that's far less stressful and far more enjoyable.

n Checked those tires lately? The old standard is that your car tread should reach at least to the top of Lincoln's head if you stick a penny into the grooves. If it doesn't reach his head, they need to be replaced. Driving bald tires on icy roads is never a good idea.

n And clean off those windows. Again, time is key here. Take an extra five or 10 minutes in the morning to start up your car and turn on the defroster to melt that ice off the windows. And make sure you scrape all around.

n And, whatever you do, leave plenty of space between you and the other guy. Icy conditions can increase the time it takes to stop up to 10 times, so drive accordingly. While you think you can control your vehicle, you can't control the other driver's. And if the other driver goes into a sudden spin and swings broadside in the road in front of you, well, you want to leave plenty of room.

Using a little common sense - and caution - can prevent a tragedy later. So beware and be careful.



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