It happens every year. The first snow blizzard arrives and people have forgotten that they cannot drive the same way they do in June. Serious car accidents are the inevitable result.
I am sitting here amidst today’s blizzard expected to heap over 12 inches of snow in Southeastern Wisconsin, reading news stories about cars in ditches, and even a City of Milwaukee snowplow overturned! How is it that adults forget over the short summer season that snowy conditions require an alteration in their driving habits?
Remember these tips for safe driving during a storm, courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation:
Plan your travel, selecting both primary and alternate routes.
Let someone know your travel routes and itinerary so that, if you don’t arrive on time, officials will know where to search for you.
Check latest weather information on your radio.
Try not to travel alone – two or three people are preferable.
Travel in convoy (with another vehicle) if possible.
Drive carefully and defensively. Watch for ice patches on bridges and overpasses.
Take note of your odometer and coordinate it with exit numbers, mileposts, or crossroads so if you are in a crash or slide off the road you’ll better be able to identify where you are and summon law enforcement officers, rescue workers, or tow truck operators more quickly to your location.
If a storm begins to be too much for you to handle, seek refuge immediately.
If your car should become disabled, stay with the vehicle, running your engine and heater for short intervals. Be sure to “crack” a window in the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.
Be courteous to those awaiting your arrival:
Call ahead to your destination just as you are leaving.
Let someone at your destination know the license number of your vehicle, what route you’ll be traveling, and give a realistic estimate of your travel time.
If you have a cell phone, give that number to the party at your destination.
If you have friends or family at your place of origin, you should call when you arrive to let them know you have arrived safely.
If road conditions, tiredness, etc. delay or postpone a trip, make a phone call. Let people on both ends know of the delay.