Just where did you learn to drive?

Published 9:03 pm Thursday, December 8, 2005

By Staff
Being from the midwest and learning to drive on expressways in and around Chicago, I have experienced my share of poor drivers.
What I don't understand is how people seem to lose all good common sense when it comes to driving during the first few snows of the winter season.
Ice, cold and snow can cause your car to slip and slide. It is a fact.
Why don't people just leave a little earlier and slow down?
I appreciate those of you who see fit to hit the cars in front and around you, especially when driving in the Niles Township 11th Street shopping district. After all, the accidents give reporters exciting photos to put into the paper each week.
But don't you hate the time it takes for you to get your car repaired.
Then there are those who are hurt and will be spending the holidays in the hospital. Or worse, are the funerals being held for those who will never get to experience another holiday with their family.
Driving is a dangerous activity, even when going about town doing your holiday shopping. People are distracted this time of the year.
Try to stay off your cell phone. Don't be applying make-up or fiddling with your radio dial.
If you are turning and are moving into the turn lane, do it! Don't start turning and leave your rear end in the other lane. Nearly all of the accidents we have covered in Niles, are while people are turning and not waiting until the lane is clear.
Don't think I am the expert, but I speak from experience.
The first snow a few years ago I ran off the road and just missed a tree. It was blowing so strong I wasn't sure where my turn was and moved the wheel too soon. I am sure I was going too fast. I was just lucky the tree was that inch away when I came to a stop.
The worst was when I drove the trailer hitch of the truck in front of my car into my grill. I was parking at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac and I couldn't brake on the hill which was a sheet of ice.
Years ago I was in some major crashes in the winter. We stood in the snow with our kids in our arms waiting for help in the major pile-up that even included the state trooper who came to help.
It is also smart to be prepared for winter travel by keeping your car with enough gas, so if you are caught in a traffic jam or by another's accident, you can stay warm.
Pack extra gloves, hats and blankets. I used to make up a kit which also included some snacks, water and a flashlight. The Hershey kisses always got eaten though before they were really needed in an emergency.
Once on Christmas Day, heading to Chicago, we were stopped with gas line freeze. I was so glad we had extra warm blankets for my kids to cuddle under until help came.
Jumper cables are also good to have.
We chose to live in an area with all its seasons, but I am already looking forward to spring.