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Stay Safe on the Road: A Pennsylvania native explains road safety in the winter.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, each season tends to take on the extremes regarding the weather. Winter is no exception to this rule, and Pennsylvania winters can be exceptionally harsh. 

When I was little, I used to look forward to the days where the snow would fall so heavily that I could go to sleep comfortably in the knowledge that I was getting the next day off of school to play in the snow. 

As a young adult, those days are long past me as I now fall asleep knowing I will have to wake up the next day and dig my snowscraper out of the trunk of my car regardless of if I am planning on going anywhere so as to avoid risking the dreaded ice-over on my car. 

Driving in the snow can be daunting, and as someone with a 2 wheel drive car, I know all too well the fear of driving on a long twisted road coated in ice and putting all of my faith in God to keep me safe behind the wheel. 

A few years ago, before I had even started driving, my boyfriend’s mom had recommended an exercise that I believe every new driver should try before hitting the roads in the winter. She recommended going to the local park, when there would be nobody else there, and driving around, practicing driving on the unpaved roadway. 

The point of this exercise is to allow the car to lose control, and to be able to do so in a safe environment before making the mistakes around other drivers. Being able to do this will allow a driver to learn how to avoid these mistakes, and will help a new winter driver to gain confidence while driving, even in a stressful environment such as an icy road. 

In all honesty, the best way to avoid the dangers of driving in a winter winderland is to not drive if you do not feel comfortable and can avoid doing so. Confidence in driving is important in any environment, and winter is certainly not an exception. 

If you aren’t planning on driving, it is still important to clean off your vehicles if you have them, since letting them sit after a snowfall will cause the snow to ice over if left for too long, which will make things more difficult in the long run. 

If you do drive, please be courteous of other drivers and make sure that your car is completely cleared off before hitting the roads. Chunks of snow and even ice can and will fly off of your car, and can put other drivers at risk if it hits another vehicle. From personal experience, I have seen it happen to multiple people, and it is no joke. 

Overall, trust your instincts, and don’t let winter scare you too much. If possible, enjoy the snow days while you can, they’re only here during a quarter of the year.

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