Keep the sliding in the ice rink

  • Saturday, January 16, 2016 5:57pm
  • Opinion

Have you ever seen so many people so happy to see some snow?

Indeed, after a couple of winters of more thaw than freeze, there are many of us on the Kenai Peninsula excited to get back to some of our favorite winter activities — sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, ice fishing, dog mushing, snowmachining, and anything else we can think of to do on snow or ice.

However, with the return of winter weather also comes the return of winter driving conditions. And with temperatures tending to stay closer to the freezing mark these days, we’re seeing more frequent slippery driving conditions than we’re used to.

With that in mind, it’s a good time for a reminder to think safety behind the wheel. You’ve heard the tips from us before, but they bear repeating. If one more person puts them into practice each season, it’s potentially one less accident.

■ Common sense is the best defense against accidents. This means slow down and increase the distance between your car and other traffic. Slowing down not only drops your chances of locking bumpers, it also saves you fuel, which saves you money.

■ Moose will appear out of nowhere. Slowing down and glancing along the road’s edges help eliminate problems.

■ A winter survival kit can keep an inconvenience from turning into a catastrophe. It should contain a flashlight, blankets, booster cables, a warning device (flares or reflective triangle), a small bag of abrasive material (sand or cat litter) for traction, a cloth towel or roll of paper towels, a small shovel, water, some emergency food and a book of matches.

■ An ice scraper and good windshield wiper blades are a must for good visibility. Don’t try to save time by scraping just a little hole in the frost off your windshield. A credit card is no substitute for an ice scraper. Avoid those drivers who have not cleared their windshields — they can‚t see you. Also, don’t forget to clear the snow from your headlights and taillights.

■ No matter how short a trip you’re making, dress for the weather. If you have car trouble or are involved in an accident, you’ll be glad you took the time to don your boots, coat, hat and mittens. At the very least, keep some winter clothes in the car for an emergency.

■ Four-wheel drive does not protect you from accidents. It may help you maneuver through snow, but it absolutely will not help you stop on a slick road.

■ For up to date road conditions, visit 511.alaska.gov, where the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities posts road condition alerts and updates.

We’re looking forward to enjoying a little more winter — as long as it lasts — but let’s try to leave the slipping and sliding on the ice rink and ski trails, and not the roads.

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