Ice-coated roads brings an increase of traffic accidents in Rexburg. This increase has also been attributed to drivers who have little to no experience with winter weather.
“There are more traffic accidents during the winter months than during the rest of the year,” said Captain Randy Lewis, Chief of Rexburg Police. “What we see here [in Rexburg] with traffic in the winter months is inexperience with driving on slick roads.”
Lewis said that because much of the student population comes from various regions in the country where driving in the snow is not as common, they don’t know how to slow down without skidding. He also said that another cause of winter traffic accidents is that students do not allow themselves enough time to prepare their vehicles before driving.
“We had a college student who got hit in a crosswalk because the driver didn’t clear their windshield before they headed out,” Lewis said. “So many accidents happen because of the condition of the vehicle. We encourage drivers to leave early, warm the car and scrape the windshield clean.”
Inexperienced drivers can visit the police station for tips and questions about how to safely drive in winter weather.
“We’re such nice folks down here, you just come on in and we’ll help you learn how to handle your car,” Lewis said. “Know your car, know how to drive it. The biggest thing is to not put people around the car if you get stuck.”
Tactics drivers should use when they get stuck in warm, dry weather are very different from tactics used in the cold and wet months. Pressing the gas pedal may have a drastic effect in the cold.
“A student got stuck going into the driveway and some of their friends got out to help,” Lewis said. “They tried pushing the car, but the tire overheated and popped because the driver revved the engine too much.”
Students may consider getting their cars serviced before the winter. This includes checking the heater, battery, anti-freeze and tires.
Often, drivers do not allow enough time to stop at crosswalks, so pedestrians need to use caution during the season as well.