Safe Teen Drivers: Driving in the Snow

By: Bailey Disselkoen Email
By: Bailey Disselkoen Email

December 13, 2010

It is a story that is all too common when snow hits the ground.

"I got caught in a white out on the highway, and there was a car stalled up on the road ahead that I couldn't see. I swerved to avoid it and ended up doing a full 360 on the highway," said University of Virginia student Matt Wolf, of one of his first driving experiences.

Not everyone was prepared to deal with the snowy conditions that plagued Central Virginia last winter, especially those who were new to driving in the dangerous weather.

"That was something I really didn't expect to be as big of a thing, you really can't see anything," remembered Kristen Fisher, a UVa student.

The National Weather Service says poor visibility and speed are factors in a number of winter accidents. When it's snowing outside, you need to drive slower and increase your following distance. Even though they haven't been driving for long, students at the University of Virginia agree.

"You just have to reduce your speed and you cannot drive the way you normally would if it wasn't snowing," said Lena Witek.

However, going slowly does not always prevent the car from sliding.

"My scariest experience driving, I was going down a hill and braking as I normally would brake, but you just can't do that in the snow. I skidded a little forward and it's a very unsettling experience," remembered Witek.

"I was on a pretty slick road and I started sliding off of it, It felt like the whole car was out of control which is obviously a really scary feeling when you have this huge vehicle," said Claire Holtzmuller, a UVa student.

Experts say if you do start to fishtail, you should gently turn into it and the car will straighten itself out. The National Weather Service says the best advice is not to go out at all if at all possible.

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