Student drivers prepare for harsh winter conditions

The Revere High School parking lot can become hazardous in winter conditions.

Photo by Troy Pierson.

The Revere High School parking lot can become hazardous in winter conditions.

Troy Pierson, Staff Reporter

A world of excitement, opportunity, and enjoyment opens up when you get your license. The initial feeling after passing what was wrongly assumed to be an impassable driving test is now left behind; what now comes is a feeling of complete exhilaration and relief, the feeling of freedom at last.

You get in your car, start the engine, and expect nothing less of the hundred thousand-plus used car your parents use as a backup. Except there’s one seemingly small and unexpecting factor you forgot to take into account after obtaining your path to freedom: the harsh conditions of winter driving.

Winter driving appears no different than any other time of the year; however, the reality of winter driving is an extremely serious and dangerous road to embark upon, with numbers to show. According to the Federal Highway Administration, “Over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes” due to winter weather conditions annually. Not only does this statistic associate with teenage drivers, but the rate for increased reckless behavior is a large factor as well. The C.D.C. (Center for Disease Control) states that as of 2014, “2,270 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed” in motor vehicle accidents, and “six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.” These statistics suggest the real danger teenagers pose on the road when they sit behind the wheel. These statistics even stretch to that of drivers of Revere High School, as every single driver in the parking lot poses a heightened danger to both themselves and to others when driving this winter season.

To see what new drivers do in reaction to the inclement weather, Revere High School students with driver’s licenses were interviewed to see what measures they take in order to curb the risk. Dylan Kostar, a sophomore at Revere High School, received his license around six months ago and is experiencing the winter weather for the second time in his time driving.

Kostar recommends for new drivers to “go slow, stay off the gas, and perform movements slowly” when driving, as well as performing turns and other maneuvers as slow as possible.

Alex Pocze, a sophomore at Revere High School, received his license about four months ago and is experiencing his first winter while driving.

“Winter driving lengthens my trip to school due to the extra precautions that must be taken to ensure the safety of me and the drivers around me. . . .With snow coming down recently my father made me go driving around the development to get a feel for braking and turning,” Pocze said.

In addition to extra measures to ensure safety while driving, Pocze said he keeps an ice scraper in the back of his car to wipe off the ice and snow, as well as a plan to leave earlier in the morning, so that he has time to get to school. Pozce recommends that new drivers should know how to use their defrosters while driving.

“Driving is not as hard as it seems, as long as you follow the rules and are prepared for emergencies, everything will be fine,” Pocze said.

Ben Tipton, a junior at Revere High School, received his license as a sophomore and has had his license for almost a year. This winter season, Tipton believes the weather is more severe than the last time he experienced winter driving.

“I expect the roads to always be icy, so I have to be more careful when driving. The dark mornings when driving to school make it hard to see as well. The low light level and bad road conditions make me stay more focused on driving during the winter than any other season,” Tipton said.

Winter driving has considerable risk and is a time when every driver must pay close attention to the road and the surrounding environments but also has some positives. When driving, Tipton notes the fun ways he perceives driving during the winter season.

“Driving at night with the headlights on while it’s snowing makes you feel like you’re driving at light speed. It is insanely fun,” Tipton said.

The feeling of getting your license and possessing the freedom to drive is quite the enjoyable experience. But, as long as one abides to the rules of the roads and adjusts his or her time to meet with winter weather, the roads may not appear as scary and icy.