With the winter months lurking, it is time to refresh winter awareness and brace our vehicles for the snow and ice in the forecast. Roads are readied appropriately for the weather, yet commuters can never be fully prepared for what is in store.
“Before and during a snow or ice event, I am in constant contact with the Department of Transportation and other police agencies, getting reports on road conditions,” said Northern Kentucky University Police Chief Jason Willis. “We evaluate not just the road conditions in our immediate area, but also the road conditions in the areas where our students are traveling from.”
“The biggest winter driving issue is usually motorists who are traveling too fast for the conditions,” Willis said. “Quite often those in 4-wheel-drive vehicles get overconfident during icy or snowy conditions and drive faster than they should.”
Drivers are advised to check road conditions in their area and along routes they will be taking before leaving for their destination. In addition, it is important to properly prepare the vehicle before heading out.
“Another key to preventing accidents,” Willis said, “is educating our community on winter driving safety tips before the weather actually turns bad.”
First, it is important to remove all snow and ice from windshields, windows and mirrors. Always make sure that headlights, tail lights and turn signals are visible to other drivers, and keep a distance of at least 20 feet between each car on the road.
It is against the law to text while driving in Kentucky according to the Transportation Department.
Rather than rushing to class, make sure to get up earlier when inclement weather is expected. It is better to be late for class than never being able to make it there due to an accident.
Pedestrians need to cross with caution. Be sure to always use the marked crosswalks. “Try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them,” Willis advised. “Do not assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you.”
Always look down both sides of the street when crossing, and watch for ice to avoid slips and falls. Also, take notice of cars that may be turning, backing up and pulling into the parking lot.
“Our officers are highly visible throughout campus to deter erratic driving,” Willis said. “We also send out text alert messages through Norse Alert about school closings and delays.”
Norse Alert, NKU’s emergency contact system, sends automated phone calls, text messages and emails to anyone who has signed up for the service. These notifications inform subscribers of any school closings or delays. To enroll in the service, visit norsealert.nku.edu.