Memo to First Year South Dakota Residents Before You Drive in the Snow
We are about to get our first big snowstorm of the year. If you are one of the many people who are new to our state this year or are prone to poor driving at any time of the year, here are some things to remember when the snow is flying and you are driving.
If you have a deadline to arrive somewhere, you should leave five to ten minutes earlier than you normally would to arrive on time. Driving itself is only going to be slightly slower than it would normally, but you compound that with thousands of other drivers, at least 10 percent of whom suck at driving, you can expect an accident to back up traffic.
Start Slowing Down Sooner
I have lived in a place where it snows my entire life and this is one that I often forget early in the winter driving season. You can't stop as quickly as you can on dry pavement. Start coasting way sooner than normal, start braking gradually way sooner than normal, and avoid mashing the brakes at any time.
Sioux Falls doesn't have hills like Rapid City, but in a snowstorm the hills we have are steep enough to cause you a lot of problems. If your tires are in bad shape and you don't have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, you are going to have a lot of problems. Cliff Avenue going south from the Big Sioux River is a popular spot for cars to get stuck trying to go up.
Stay Home if you Can
There is a perfect way to stay out of trouble driving during a snowstorm. Do not leave the house if you can help it. Obviously if you have to take kids to school and you have to go to work, that isn't an option. But if you don't have to go somewhere, don't go anywhere.