Editorial: Don’t drive like a Scrooge


Hayley Hochstetler/Iowa State Daily

Students woke up Sunday morning to find Ames covered in a blanket of snow. While the snow may be fun to have a snowball fight in or building a snowman, it also means dangerous driving conditions that many will have to encounter on their way to class and potentially even finals.

Editorial Board

The winter wonderland has officially made it’s way to Iowa State. Nearly every inch of Ames and campus has been blanketed in the fine white powder that signals winter is here to stay.

Many of us woke up on Sunday morning to find our cars and sidewalks buried in several inches of snow and frozen solid in frigid temperatures. The flurries mean snowmen, snowball fights and many an ‘Instagrammed’ photo of rough-housing in the snow. But this beautiful winter wonderland also means dangerous driving conditions that many students, faculty and staff will have to encounter on their way to class – or even on their way home after finals.

The Iowa Department of Transportation states that the five-year average number of winter season precipitation days for Iowa is 53. This means there is a lot of days where the driving conditions are less than ideal. If you choose to drive this winter season, it is your responsibility to be prepared and drive safely.

Braving the winter chill early in the morning may be a less than desirable task, but clearing off all of your windows before hitting the road is important to driving safely. This doesn’t just mean creating a small hole of visibility right in front of the driver’s seat of the windshield, but fully scraping off the ice and snow in order to see not only other vehicles but also pedestrians.

When driving in the ice and snow it is also important to be courteous of other drivers who may not be as comfortable in the driving conditions as you.

The Iowa Department of Transportation suggests that winter drivers reduce speeds, avoid using their cruise control and give themselves plenty of time to brake before their wanted stop. Accelerating at a green light can also be a tricky task on the ice and snow. Giving yourself extra time to reach your destinations will make driving during this time of year less stressful and lead to fewer accidents from trying to rush in less than ideal conditions. 

Being considerate and cautious around snowplows is also key to surviving the winter driving months. Pay attention to snow ordinances and move your car to the correct parking spots so that the road can be cleared more easily.

Drifting and purposefully parking incorrectly in the commuter lot may seem like harmless fun, but not only are these seriously dangerous activities, they can also be really cumbersome and stressful for others trying to deal with the weather. 

Navigating and finding a parking spot in the commuter lot is a difficult task to begin with. There are times when the lines of the parking lot are not visible, but drivers should still use common sense in parking during those times. Boxing others in, parking in the wrong direction or making the driving areas between the rows so narrow that other cars can’t pass through is inconsiderate and easily avoided. Always check to see how you have parked, and be sure to correct your parking mistakes.

Driving in the winter months is stressful and annoying for everyone. Be considerate and take the time to prepare yourself – and your car – before you hit the streets.

The most important thing to remember this winter season is that it’s always better to be late and alive rather than driving dangerously to make it on time, risking your life and the lives of others.

Following these simple guidelines can help ensure that we all make it home safely to our families this holiday season.