Winter Wariness


Brooklyn Branstiter, Editor

It is finally that time of year here in small-town Alliance: winter! Gifts, hot chocolate, and cozy pajamas are among us. Aside from these joyful parts of winter come some extremely dangerous downsides. With snow and cold comes dangerous, icy roads. 

Being teenagers in a small town limits the activities that we can do with our friends. One of the most popular pastimes here in Alliance is “cruising the Butte.” Driving up and down the brick roads is one of the only things for us to do! With a harsh winter just around the corner, it is extremely important to understand the dangers that come with having sheets of ice covering the roads. Even the slightest bit of snow on the roads can cause treacherous driving conditions. According to James L. O’Rourke, every year there are around 1.2 million vehicle accidents attributed to weather. 

We live in a state with weather that is constantly changing. It snows, then the weather warms up and the snow melts, then it snows again, then it melts, creating a continuous cycle. This cycle can create one of the most dangerous forms of ice on the road, black ice. Black ice is a thin coating of ice that shows the appearance of water on the pavement. It is so dangerous because tires cannot grip the road, brakes cannot work properly and it can cause vehicles to spin 180 or even 360 degrees, which creates a high risk for crashes. 

If at all possible, avoid driving when the roads are slick. If driving is not avoidable, drive at least 10 miles per hour slower than the speed limit, reducing the risk of your tires not gripping the road, make sure you are extremely attentive to the road conditions and those driving around you and accelerate and apply your brakes slowly to avoid skidding. If your car does begin to skid, steer your car in the direction that you want to go and keep a tight grip on the wheel. Avoid pumping or slamming on the brakes, for this can cause your car to spin. 

Remember that ice on the roads is not something to mess around with. Drive safely and attentively this winter, so that you can enjoy things like hot chocolate, cozy pajamas and fires in your fireplaces!