New Drivers in Winter

Catherine Hayes, Staff Writer

Winter driving is a new challenge for students who’ve only driven for a short amount of time. Even though this winter has been warmer than usual, there have still been many difficult road conditions this year, such as roads covered in ice and slush, snowfall, freezing rain and hail that’ve all proved to be challenges for new drivers. Winter weather also results in more car-related challenges, like being unable to open a door that’s frozen shut or having to scrape ice off your windshield. This raises the question, how are new drivers at PHS faring against the winter?

Most new drivers have noticed differences, and they recognize that they need to drive more cautiously to stay safe in winter weather. However, many new drivers have experienced no incidents while driving.

“It (winter driving) is more difficult,” said sophomore Avery Cain. “The hardest part is probably compensating for stopping, you have to start slowing down earlier.”

Sophomore Deric Marshall, who has had his license since early August, sees winter driving as “pretty much the same”. The main difference is that he has to pay more attention and try not to hit any ice patches. 

Dennis Chambless has noticed the specific safety measures he must take to stay safe on the road in winter. The sophomore said he has to “pay more attention,” and has to give himself more time to slow down, be more careful on turns, and he can’t accelerate as quickly. 

While the majority have not experienced any incidents driving in winter, there are some new drivers who’ve had issues in the cold weather.

One icy morning, sophomore Hunter Hall’s car door was frozen shut. He remembers having to put more force into opening it and, once he got it opened, the ice stopped him from being able to shut it. Otherwise, Hall has noticed little difference between driving in winter and in summer.

“You’ve got to drive more carefully with the ice and salt, but you especially have to be more cautious with other people (drivers),” said sophomore Sarah Hennessee. 

During the first major snowstorm of the winter, Hennessee was driving on an icy highway. Someone in the other lane was driving too fast for the conditions and slid into her lane, causing Hennessee to turn off the road to avoid a collision. 

Regardless of how long students have been behind the wheel, winter weather can be treacherous, so it’s important to take proper precautions to remain as safe as possible on the road.