As winter rolls around and the snow continues to pile up, Idaho roads become icy and unpredictable. Rexburg in particular, is home to a plethora of students from warmer climates who may not be used to driving in the snow.
Because driving is such a common part of American life, some people underestimate how dangerous it can be. According to the National Safety Council, about 40,000 vehicle deaths occurred in the US in 2018. Also, according to a 2016 study, Idaho is the fourth most fatal state in terms of snow crashes.
Officer Sam Claunch of the Rexburg Police Department is a driving instructor for emergency vehicle operations. He shared some tips on vehicle safety for snowy conditions.
“The equipment you’re using can definitely play a part in contributing to more crashes,” Claunch said. “What I see that contributes to a lot of accidents are worn out tires that simply don’t have enough traction to help drivers stop and go on the roads and also people not clearing off all of the windows of their car.“
Molly Hansen, a sophomore majoring in general studies, experienced the dangers of inadequate tires first-hand last winter.
“I was driving my car along some rural roads when I slowly started to veer off and couldn’t correct myself. I didn’t crash or hurt the car or anything, but I got stuck in a few feet of snow right off the road,” said Hansen. “This year, I have snow tires and feel much safer on the road.”
Officer Claunch also offered some advice in terms of driving awareness.
“Make sure your vehicle is in good condition. Be attentive and be aware to other traffic and vehicles, and when the weather gets bad, slow down and increase the distance between you and the cars in front of you,” Claunch said.
It may also be wise to follow the advice of @Chasu42, a twitter user whose winter tips went viral in an attempt to explain snow-driving to southerners.
“If you rarely drive on snow, just pretend you’re taking your grandma to church. There’s a platter of biscuits and 2 gallons of sweet tea in glass jars in the back seat. She’s wearing a new dress and holding a crockpot full of gravy,” said @Chasu42 in a tweet.