Winter driving tips offered in Fenwick

Winter driving tips were the topic for Sgt. William Boyden, public information officer for the Fenwick Island Police Department, at the town council meeting held Friday, Jan. 28. In light of recent snow and icy weather, he took the opportunity to make a number of recommendations for those in attendance at the meeting.

Boyden also noted that, with a large number of non-residents driving in and out the Fenwick Island area, it was particularly important for drivers not used to such wintery weather to practice driving in such conditions before taking to the town’s streets. He suggested they take advantage of empty parking lots in the area as a controlled environment to better learn their vehicles’ handling in slippery conditions.

For all drivers, Boyden recommended making sure to clear their entire windshields, as well as front and rear taillights, to ensure full visibility. A full supply of windshield washer fluid is also important, he said, to help clear salt and sand residue and ensure the greatest view.

Boyden noted that cell phones that are otherwise out of service and not under a paid contract with a cell phone company could still be used to dial 911 in an emergency, as long as they have power. He recommended those without a cell phone look to friends and family who were upgrading their existing phones to obtain an older phone for such emergency use.

Most importantly, Boyden told residents to not go out onto the roads in hazardous conditions unless they genuinely have to do so. To aid with handling, he recommended carrying extra weight in the vehicle, such as a large bag of cat litter.

If cars do begin to slide in slippery conditions, Boyden said drivers should make sure not to brake but to instead turn into the direction of the slide. To maximize safety, he also advised making sure to leave enough room between vehicles to ensure a safe stop.

Boyden recommended drivers use their headlights at full strength, rather than vehicles’ parking lights, as the parking lights can create deceptive perceptions of distance between vehicles.

Beyond the hazards of snow and ice, Boyden also noted for those in attendance at the meeting that deer were a particular concern for those driving during winter. He said areas to the north and west of Fenwick Island were especially known for deer crossing roads and advised strong caution for those driving between 3 a.m. and sunrise, as well as all times around sunset and sunrise.

Frozen pipes are also a common problem during the winter, according to Boyden. He said Fenwick Island police officers regularly find evidence of frozen pipes while making their rounds of the town. Boyden noted that the open, off-the-ground construction of many homes in Fenwick Island lend them to having their pipes frozen, particularly when water sources are not in regular use, such as when owners are out of town.

Boyden said he would keep a number of pamphlets with further tips for winter safety at the town’s police office. The pamphlets were provided courtesy of State Farm Insurance.