Winter driving tips, because snow makes us less smart

St. George Boulevard, St. George, Dec. 9, 2013 | Photo courtesy of the St. George Police Department, St. George News

EDITORIAL-HUMOR – With the heavy snowfall in Southern Utah and “sunny” St. George in particular, road conditions have not been kind. The Utah Highway Patrol, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and St. George Police have reported numerous weather-related accidents.

Let’s face it, St. George isn’t known for its winter drivers. The sight of a few snowflakes has a strange neurological effect on us when we drive – we suddenly forget how to do it. Either that or we trick ourselves into thinking we don’t see the white stuff and barrel on ahead with abandon, potentially putting ourselves and others at risk. Along with ice, snow’s much less-liked sibling, our vehicles, the marvels of engineering that they are, become little more then rag dolls once they hit an ice patch at high speed.

Some of us have trouble enough simply keeping our footing on iced-over sidewalks.

Suddenly the term “Slip ‘N Slide” no longer just applies to a beloved summer toy as it more adequately describes your car’s actions on an icy roadway. If you’re lucky you’ll eventually come to a stop with no trouble and be able to continue on your way – albeit possibly a little shaken and in need of fresh underwear.

If you’re not so lucky … well, let’s just say I don’t like reporting on such things. As such, what follows is a few driving tips I picked up in 2011 from the Utah Department of Transportation.You can read the full story here. Granted, these tips were originally in an article about highway driving, but can apply just as easily to driving in the city.

Oh, and if you know Todd Abbott or any of the local UDOT guys at Station 4473, give them my regards. These guys are the ones that keep Interstate 15 and the state roads around the county clean and maintained, and in the winter, even plowed.

So without further ado, a few winter driving tips courtesy of UDOT (with my special touch in a few spots to boot):

  • Take it slow. Drive well below posted speed limits and leave plenty of space between cars. UDOT’s mantra for winter driving is “Ice and snow, take it slow.”

  • Approach intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shaded areas slowly. These areas are hotspots for black ice. And trust me, no matter how your car may try, it will never be as graceful as those Olympic figure skaters on TV once it hits the ice.

  • Slow down in cases of limited visibility and be alert. Being alert of course means you don’t text your significant other about how crazy it is that we have such snow in St. George – while you’re driving in it.

  • Whether someone drives an elevated SUV or a ground-kissing Toyota Prius, again, UDOT says to take it slow. Just because a truck has 4-wheel drive doesn’t change how it handles on the road, especially when traction goes out the window. Mother Nature is no respecter of automotive diversity.

  • Keep the vehicle’s speed down. The faster the car goes, the longer it takes to stop. And if donuts are your thing? There are bakeries in every grocery store to scratch that itch.

  • Be slow on the accelerator or risk having the car turn into a skidding bobsled when the next stop sign appears. And no, gold medals will not be awarded to the winners of the impromptu car-sled competition.

  • Autopilot is not your friend. Do not put the car into cruise control while ice and snow still abound on the interstate. Like we often remind you, cruise control in the rain can make you hydroplane – that goes for slushy roads too.

The roads will gradually improve once Mother Nature decides to stop giving us the icy stare and allows the temperatures to warm up some. For now, stay safe out on the roadways folks, and remember:

Ice and snow, take it slow.

Related posts:

Mori Kessler as Marley in Scrooge at the 2012 Dickens Festival in St. George, Utah, Nov. 30, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News
Mori Kessler as Marley in Scrooge at the 2012 Dickens Festival in St. George, Utah, Nov. 30, 2012 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

Mori Kessler is the Assistant Editor of St. George News and an all around nice guy who should be fed tacos. The opinions stated in this article are his and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

St. George Boulevard, St. George, Dec. 9, 2013 | Photo courtesy of the St. George Police Department, St. George News
St. George Boulevard, St. George, Dec. 9, 2013 | Photo courtesy of the St. George Police Department, St. George News

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1 Comment

  • JOSH DALTON December 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Lets face it Saint George is not know for thier drivers PERIOD! It can be dry and had not rained for 86 days and people still drive like idiots. Then you throw in some snow and ice. That is a recipe for disaster.

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