Every winter it seems as though drivers have to relearn how to safely operate their vehicles when the first snow falls on Brainerd streets.
Fender-benders and near-misses as vehicles inadvertently slide through stop signs are as common a sight as the city's snow plows and sanding trucks that are dispatched to fight the elements. Some of the accidents are unavoidable but some could be averted if motorists would just slow down and keep their distance from the vehicle that's in front of them.
Speed is the winter driver's worst enemy. A vehicle's ability to stop is severely impaired when the road surface is wet, icy or snowy. Drivers can't operate their vehicles at the same speed they might normally drive and expect to be able to stop safely on a slick road.
The second sin of the foolish winter driver is tailgating. Tailgating is a practice that's foolish enough on dry roads but downright dangerous when the roads aren't good.
Too many drivers are in a hurry and act as if they can control their vehicles just as well when the weather is bad. The smart drivers know they can't and their only defense is to drive slowly and keep their distance from the more reckless drivers.
Area merchants hopeful
despite news of a U.S. recession
The National Bureau of Economic Research made it official Monday. The U.S. went into a recession in March of this year. That's when the longest expansion in U.S. history celebrated its 10th anniversary.
The last formal recession lasted from July of 1990 until March of 1991. Of course, earlier recessions never had to cope with the aftermath of tragedies similar to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing war. Precisely how these events will affect our nation's economic future remains to be seen.
There have been signs that many Americans, while a bit skittish about the economy, realize that this is no time for panic. Many Brainerd area retailers expressed optimism about the upcoming holiday shopping season. Aggressive use of low prices and the lure of low-interest payments may just convince consumers to keep spending at the levels they've grown accustomed to despite some concerns about the future.
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