It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
Winter weather is fast approaching. With the snow and ice comes an increase in traffic accidents. KSMU’s Shane Franklin has some tips on how to stay safe while driving this holiday season.
This year, there has been nearly three times the number of fatality crashes in Springfield as compared to last year. Last year there were six, this year there have been 17, and we haven’t even had snowfall yet.
Mandy Buettgen is with the Springfield Public Works Traffic Engineering staff.
Buettgen says that while there has been a significant increase in fatality crashes this year, the trend is mostly because last year saw much lower than average fatal crashes.
“What is a little bit different this year is that we have more pedestrian crashes this year than compared to last year. Some of these were freak accidents, and some of those were due to the pedestrian being impaired or making some unpredictable move that the driver was not able to break in time to get out of the way.”
Buettgen says that if you’re feeling festive this holiday season, and decide to have a few drinks, don’t rely on walking as your backup plan. Get a cab or have a designated driver.
The Springfield Public Works Department has also released a safety message with tips on how to make driving in snowy weather safer. They recommend parking your vehicle on level ground when expecting ice, to keep your vehicle from sliding. Also carry sand in your car for traction, in case you get stuck.
Officials also advise maintaining a greater distance from other vehicles when there is ice or snow on the road, as well as being extra careful when crossing bridges and storm water culverts. These areas freeze faster than other parts of the road.
During signal outages, Public Works employees remind drivers to treat intersections as an all-way-stop. They say to slow down when approaching even green lights. You never know when someone else might slide into the intersection.
In addition to driving tips, officials say that even if they’re working around the clock they’re simply unable to clear all the streets in town. With this in mind, citizens can also take part in make driving safer for the community.
“If we do get snow, it’s important that vehicles are parked on private property, about ten feet away from the road’s edge. That way when the trucks come through to plow the snow, they don’t have to get around vehicles. Also, they won’t push the snow onto vehicles. This also gives the owners of properties space to remove the snow better, to get out of their driveway.”
If citizens give snowplows plenty of space, they can clear the roads faster and safer. And if you’re feeling extra neighborly this season, Public Works asks that when you are clearing your own driveway of ice and snow, that you also clear the sidewalk.
Buettgen says to remember that driving safe in winter weather is all about being responsible, slowing down, and driving defensively. She says by remembering these tips, you just might save a life this holiday season.
For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.