By Alyssa Daniels
According to Safe Winter Roads, each year 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet. Snow, ice and slush can become an issue for new student drivers because they’ve just recently started driving. These harsh conditions can cause a lot of wrecks and injuries, so new drivers need proper training in harsh conditions.
Drivers Education instructor Matt Laker of Franklin Township has been with Central Indiana Educational Service Center (CIESC) for 11 years now. Laker discussed that it depends on when the student schedules the drives with their instructor. Usually the family can also teach the new driver how to drive on ice; it’s not all on the driver instructor.
According to Laker, snow is not the most difficult condition in which to drive. That only applies when the drivers see the ice on the roads. When the snow starts to melt, the roads develop black ice. Black ice is transparent ice that has been developed on roads or any paved surface.
“…Driving in these conditions when it’s unknown is the hardest thing for a driver to drive on black ice, for example. That being said, snow/ice can be very challenging, even for experienced drivers when conditions are known,” Laker said.
According to the AAA Exchange website, all drivers should accelerate and decelerate slowly on ice. Pressing the gas slowly will be able to cause the driver to get more traction on one’s tires and prevent a wreck. There is no need to hurry while there are bad road conditions. It’s also important to take more time to slow down. It takes longer to slow down on icy and snowy roads. With that in mind, the driver needs to give themselves and the car in front of the driver more space than usual.
Junior Brandon Lingenfelter just recently started driving in August 2017 and he has witnessed the harsh weather conditions we have had.
Lingenfelter discussed what he does to control his vehicle when it starts to skid.
“I turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction I’m sliding and keep doing that till I gain back control,” Lingenfelter said.
Not all driving instructors can teach the student driver to drive in the snow, so some students may have to learn on their own.
It’s really important for a new driver or even experienced drivers to drive slow and break early when there is ice on the roads.