Mind speed on slick streets to stay safe
Slick, icy, and snow-packed roads contributed to a seasonal increase in accidents in Marion County.
Kansas Department of Transportation engineer Joe Palic said KDOT crews in the county have been working to stay on top of highways and keep roads safely drivable during bad weather.
Nevertheless, how a driver navigates the roads has a big impact on how safe they are while traveling.
Peabody-Burns driver’s education instructor Kelly Steiner said he advises students to avoid driving in adverse conditions whenever they can.
“If you absolutely have to go out in it, you have to slow down,” Steiner said. “That’s the number one and biggest deal is to slow down.”
He also recommends giving themselves more space between their car and the one ahead.
“You don’t want any kind of starts or stops,” Steiner said. “You want gradual starts and stops.”
Ashley Perez, public affairs manager for Kansas Department of Transportation’s District Two, offered tips for driving on slick roads.
The first advice she offers is to avoid using cruise control.
“If it’s foggy, turn your headlights and tail lights on,” Perez said.
Drivers who rely on driving lights to help make them visible might not be aware that driving lights don’t always trigger taillights to turn on.
Manually turn on lights instead. She suggests walking around the vehicle to make sure the taillights are on. That’s especially important when driving in fog.
“Slow down, give our trucks room, stay back away,” Perez said.
KDOT trucks, like other vehicles, have a blind spot, and drivers can’t see cars in that triangle, she said.
Besides slowing down, Perez suggested avoiding drastic evasive actions. Drastic evasive actions can cause drivers to lose control of their cars.
Ice on roadways is another reason to slow down.
“You may not see ice, like black ice,” Perez said. “Slow down, give yourself room to stop. When somebody might have an accident up ahead, you might not have time to stop.”
Perez also recommends keeping an emergency kit in the vehicle with bottled water, nonperishable food, blankets, and a flashlight.
A flashlight can be used to signal other drivers that your car is in the ditch.
“When our trucks come by and see a vehicle off the road, they’ll try to stop and check on you,” Perez said.
AAA Kansas recommends keeping tires properly inflated and driving on tires with plenty of tread.
They also recommend keeping a vehicle’s gas tank above half a tank.
Accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid skidding and remember it takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
Don’t speed up or stop on hills. Getting moving up a hill on an icy road is difficult.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2020