By Scott Prater
With winter approaching, drivers will be presented with hazardous driving conditions on occasion and the 50th Space Wing safety office is urging people to make sure their vehicles are prepared for the season.
“First of all, people need to ensure the mechanical ability of their vehicles,” Sergeant Briggs said. “Fluids, belts, windshield wipers and especially tires need to be in proper working order. It’s a good idea to check the tread on tires as well.”
Sergeant Briggs also recommends that drivers carry a winter driving kit in their vehicles, one suggested by the AAA motor club. A typical kit will include a flashlight with extra batteries, flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, a first aid kit, rags or paper towels, candles or matches, a gallon jug of water, non-clumping kitty litter and an ice scraper, snow brush and snow shovel. Also, if you become stranded, do not leave your vehicle, use your cell phone to call for help and wait for assistance to arrive.
Colorado Springs area residents have already experienced their first winter storm this year as a cold front surprised many drivers with a fresh layer of roadway ice on Oct. 10. Colorado Springs Officials reported over 300 accidents occurred throughout the region over that weekend.
“Driving too fast for conditions is the most common cause of traffic mishaps,” Sergeant Briggs said. “In correlation, people should allow more time to get to work. If you leave home at your normal time you’re setting yourself up for failure.”
Many incidents occur at or near intersections, and there are plenty between Colorado Springs neighborhoods and Schriever.
“When you’re driving in adverse weather conditions you need to look down the road,” Sergeant Briggs said. “If you see an intersection signal turn yellow you need to start slowing down way in advance and coast up to the intersection. On the flip side, if you’re approaching a yellow light and you’re right at the light during icy conditions, you have to use your best judgment. It might be safer to roll through the yellow light if you think there is a chance you could lose control by trying to stop too quickly. Something to think about too, is if you’re stopped at a light in that same type of scenario, you may want to wait for other cars to clear the intersection before starting out.”
Drivers are urged to exercise caution whenever they approach bridges, overpasses or offramps as these structures tend to develop ice faster and more frequently then normal roadways.
Colorado Springs and El Paso County officials often declare cold reporting procedures during wintery weather as well. In that case, drivers have 72-hours to report minor traffic incidents to authorities.
However, when on base at Schriever, drivers should report all traffic incidents immediately to 50th Security Forces Squadron at 567-5643.
Sergeant Briggs also cautions people not to hesitate to call police immediately whenever they suspect a driver involved in a traffic incident is under the influence of drugs or alcohol no matter where the incident occurs.