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Letters  

Learn your vehicle

I drive with all seasons on my vehicles year round. The issue isn't the tires, the issue is the driving habits. The only tires I don't recommend this time of year are summers. However, I don't drive outside of the valley either and therefore don't head out into the surrounding hills or over the highway passes where it is law to have winters on at this time of year. 

City driving can be treacherous with idling vehicles creating ice at intersections, but knowing how to slow down is half the battle. I should know, up until a recent used vehicle purchase that came with winters already installed, I've driven with all seasons for 27 years. My initial training however, is probably unique in that an ex trucker taught me how to drive when I was 19. He taught me how to handle skids, slides, icy corners, etc.  Thanks to his training, I actually love driving in the snow, but loathe other drivers around me who don't know how to manage a slide or skid, don't know how to pump their brakes to maintain both traction and maneuverability in challenging conditions (snow or otherwise), etc.

No, the issue isn't your choice of tires unless you chose summers, the issue is knowing your vehicle (or not), knowing how to handle your vehicle under inclement conditions, confidence in your abilities (or not), and following the rules of the road, one of which is to drive according to the conditions. Those conditions by the way, involve the actual road, not what lines the side of it! So if your lane has clear pavement but snow is on the sides, focus on the clear pavement, not the sides of the road!  Roads may have painted lines on them, but anyone who gets their license will ideally be used to riding in vehicles, on bicycles or walking on the right hand side of the road. When those lines are covered by dirt, mud, or snow and ice, stay to the right and you'll be fine. There is no reason to suddenly start driving down the middle of the road as many tracks in town are suggesting people are doing.  

My advice: learn your spatial placement when you are in your vehicle, by yourself that's roughly 3 ft square, in a vehicle you are now that much wider and longer. Learn how your vehicle handles in puddles, mud, gravel, and ice and snow. Also remember to hit your signal lights before you begin braking or turning. Shoulder check before changing lanes after you signaled your intentions. Actually stop at stop lights, closing the distance so other cars can't slip between you and the one in front when stopped. (That distance is necessary when moving and helps you stop slowly under icy conditions). It also helps to know before you get in any vehicle, where the pedals are and what they do!  

If traffic scares you, stay home or get a ride.  If weather scares you, stay home or get a ride. Leave the driving to those who can handle being out there weather related or not. Driving will be much safer when people take the time to learn their vehicles behaviours, learn how to manage those behaviours, and follow road rules whether there are lines visible or not!

Marilynn Dawson



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