The Edge

The Road Ahead

A road on a potentially dangerous snowy day.

A road on a potentially dangerous snowy day.

Julianna Jacobs

Julianna Jacobs

A road on a potentially dangerous snowy day.

Aidan Simpson, Staff Writer

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It’s that time of the year again, frost on the lawn, a biting chill in the air, and the roads slick with ice and snow. Unfortunately, the icy conditions are more than just a chance for to laugh at someone as they bite pavement due to a misplaced step. It can be a real danger to drivers, to the most inexperienced drivers specifically.  

Although Washington State is certainly not one of the worst places to be driving this winter, there are still on average 10 to 19 fatal driving accidents per year because of high amounts of ice and slick substances on the road. In the entirety of the United States, around 800 fatalities were recorded in 2015 due to ice on the roads, according to the Department of Transportation. The most amount of accidents occur at around 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday is the most common day for an accident with an average of 286 accidents occurring. Next, Friday has the second most with 197 deadly accidents. 

Black ice is both incredibly difficult to spot at a glance and is extremely dangerous and common in some climates. 

Black ice is a thin layer of borderline transparent ice that forms over roads due to a sudden rise of temperature that melts any snowfall and immediately freezes over again. Paved roads become very hazardous and slippery when black ice forms. Experts at the Safer Driving Institute say that it is almost impossible to see black ice before driving over it, but say if caught in black ice keep the steering wheel straight. Turning could lead to a loss of control. They say to not break as that could lead to sliding and a similar outcome could occur. Ultimately, remove the foot from the gas and slow down gradually while maintaining a straight path as to not become stranded in the ice.  

Although driving conditions are extremely dangerous at this time of year, it is still necessary for many teens and adults to drive.  

To stay safe in the icy conditions, you should accelerate and decelerate slowly to maintain control. Don’t stop to avoid being stranded on ice, and drive at a slower speed than normal. All around , just try to stay home when the roads are particularly slick.

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