Opinion: Iowa winters call for better driving

Ah, Iowa winter. After several mild years, it has emerged from hibernation, not with the same vengeance we have known in the past, but still enough to keep us tucked inside and off the roads.
I do not think many Iowa natives would deny the fun of sledding down huge hills or building a fire and watching movies on a cold night. Growing up, my sister and I built snowmans and gave them faces made of cheese balls, and I made shelters in the snow for rabbits and stocked them with carrots.
After a childhood of winter adventures, I learned to love snow; but thanks to recent blows from Snowmageddon, its accumulation on curbs and medians create snow piles taller than some buildings, and in my opinion, problems on the road.
Piles on street corners make it difficult to check for cross traffic and towers found in DMACC’s parking lot and others can completely obscure your line of sight.
I’ve had several panicked moments in the main lot by Buildings 3 and 4 where I have to make a wide turn to get around a snow bank, and find a car I couldn’t see and that couldn’t see me. Even without snow in the way, visibility is an important issue during winter months. White or grey cars easily blend in with the surroundings, especially on cloudy days.
The Road Weather Management Program said precipitation potentially impacts visibility distance, pavement friction and lane obstruction.
Of course, this problem is exacerbated by living in a metropolitan city. For example, in a parking lot there are only so many places to go with the snow, and if it keeps coming we have to move it.
I do not know any immediate solutions for depleting the hefty snow piles, but drivers can certainly adjust their sometimes horrendous driving habits and try to increase awareness.
Although Iowans know driving in winter weather can be drastically different and more dangerous, at times, too many people seem to continue driving like visibility or friction haven’t been impacted.
According to Safe Winter Roads, more than 1,300 people die nationwide in car accidents each year on snowy, slushy or icy roads and another 900 during snowfall or sleet.
That said, accidents can occur anytime of the year for many different reasons, including weather. The difference is we have little control over the weather, making our actions and decisions the determining factor.
Whether we like it or not, winter weather is a fact in Iowa and we should not drive like it isn’t.

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