Traffic Safety - February

Winter driving poses a number of unique challenges and safety issues, some of which will be addressed here.

 First of all, make sure that your vehicle is up to the challenges of winter driving.  Good tires are essential. Check your windshield wipers and make sure you have enough washer fluid (low temperature mix).  Clear ice and snow from your windows before driving off: it is unsafe and illegal to drive while looking through a peephole.  Clear as much snow and ice from your vehicle as possible.  Ice and snow flying off can be dangerous and affect visibility for other drivers.  Check to see that the coolant mixture is correct, overheating is possible despite freezing temperatures.  Dress appropriately for the weather.  If you break down or get stranded, you may have to wait some time for assistance. The most important thing when driving in icy or snowy conditions is to SLOW DOWN!  Taking a few extra minutes of travel time could keep you out of an accident. Remember that although front wheel drive and four wheel drive vehicles perform better on ice and snow, they will not allow you to defy the laws of physics.


If you do begin to skid, release the accelerator, and turn into the skid.  (Turn in the direction you want to go.)  If you over-correct and begin to skid the other way, turn gently into the skid again.  Try to make your movements smoothly.  If you have ABS (anti-lock) brakes keep firm pressure on the brakes.  If not, pump the brakes.  DONíT jam on the brakes in a skid, or you will completely lose control. Remember that bridges, ramps, and overpasses will freeze up sooner than the roadway. 


Most people believe that police write traffic tickets to make money for their respective jurisdictions.  However, the primary reason for the enforcement of traffic laws is to increase the safety of motorists and pedestrians.  According to the NHTSA, speeding was a factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, and that alcohol was involved in 39 percent of the fatal crashes. The majority of all crashes in urban areas occur at intersections, and most of these happen as a result of a driver disregarding a red light or stop sign, or turning in front of an oncoming vehicle without yielding.  The best advice would be to practice true defensive driving Ė be fully aware of your surroundings, and use caution, even when you have the right of way.


Goto next month's traffic safety column . . .


The Malden Police Department disclaims all responsibility for accuracy and completeness, or errors and omissions of the information contained herein. Although the Department tries to assure the accuracy of all information presented, you should confirm all information before making any decisions based on it.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2010 05:57 PM