Police warn of winter’s slick roads

Campus+Police

Campus Police

By James Green

Snow made for slick and dangerous roads Monday, and that trend will continue through winter.

NIU Police Chief Tom Phillips said one of the most common bad habits of drivers is not adjusting behaviors for poor conditions.

“A lot of people don’t think about how they actually need more room to stop,” Phillips said. “You should, I would say, give yourself two to three times more distance to stop than normal.”

Driving without fully clearing a car’s windshield is another mistake Phillips often sees; even if cars have defrosters, Phillips said windshields should be clear before moving.

“It can be hard to see [pedestrians] on a sunny, summer day, so naturally it’s even harder when there’s snow and ice,” Phillips said. “Pedestrians should be really aware of corners, especially with trucks, because in this kind of weather drivers have a harder time negotiating turns and corners.”

Senior psychology major Allison Heath said she always drives defensively during the winter, and said drivers should remember they are sharing the road.

“My advice would be to be as cautious as possible because it’s not just your own life you’re risking,” Heath said. “There’s always other people you could be endangering.”

Junior biology major Laura Widmer said keeping a level head while driving is even more important than usual during the winter.

“I really try to anticipate people making mistakes on the road, and give them extra room,” Widmer said.

Phillips said the most important aspect of winter driving is the same as during good weather: awareness.

“You need to be aware. Don’t do anything that distracts you,” Phillips said. “That doesn’t change, whether it’s good weather or bad weather.”