SIDNEY — With the weather getting cooler that means the roads are becoming more dangerous.
Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart cautioned drivers during his weekly interview to slow down during foggy and inclement winter weather.
“When driving in those conditions, do not use your cruise control, in less than ideal conditions don’t use your cruise control,” Lenhart said. “And another (tip) is to avoid distractions.”
He recommends for drivers to keep both hands on the steering wheel at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions to maintain better control of the vehicle.
Make sure your vehicle’s lights are working properly, but also very importantly, Lenhart said, make certain they are clean of collected salt or debris. Salt, snow and debris can detract the light from the vehicle’s lights, he said.
“And obviously, seat belts. Make sure they are put on and properly adjusted,” he said. “Another one is speed limits. Make sure that you drive less than the speed limit, and are careful in (a bad weather) setting. And leave plenty early.”
Lenhart said sunglasses can help with the glare from snow or bright sunshine. He also recommends using the “5-second rule” which puts a safe distance between your vehicle and the person you are following in case they stop quickly.
“Be alert to everything around you. Don’t be texting or doing things you’re not supposed to do in that car. Be alert,” Lenhart said.
He also suggests checking the weather the night before to determine how early you must leave to make it to your destination on time.
“The other one that I always do is avoid traffic when I can. And the closest example of that is I-75. If I’m traveling any distance at all and I can travel a state or county road, I much prefer that. There are so many cars out there and people driving, I think you are safer on another road rather than on the Interstate, if you can,” Lenhart said.
Minimize the changing of lanes as much as possible. Lenhart said the majority of crashes occurs when people are changing lanes.
“And then when you do go from one lane to another, put your turn signal on, look in your mirrors, and look out to see what’s beside you in your blind spot,” he said.
“Leave early and slow down. When we get in trouble is when we hurry, we go a little too fast and we don’t take that second look at a stop sign and that gets us in trouble,” Lenhart recommended.
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.