Winter Driving Safety Tips
How Are Your Winter Driving Skills?
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Winter Driving Safety Tips
The first winter snowfall is the perfect time to review winter driving safety tips.
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"You know you're a Minnesotan if you carry jumper cables in your car and figure it's not worth it to take them out of your trunk just for summer." ~Ed Fischer, You Know You're A Minnesotan
Those of us who have lived here for a while may believe we know the skills we need for Minnesota winter driving safety.
However when we get out on the highway, after even a light snowfall, it sometimes seems as if we need to learn to drive all over again.
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Some basic winter driving safety tips on Minnesota's roads and highways include:
- Be aware of the local winter forecast. Winter weather predictions don't always come true---thankfully--however do stay informed and plan accordingly.
- Make sure that your vehicle is well maintained and properly equipped. Check all fluid levels of your vehicle, especially the washer fluid and anti-freeze. Have your tires inspected and properly inflated.
- Equip your vehicle with a winter safety kit, a snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flares, a flashlight and some warm clothing and blankets.
- Completely clear your vehicle of snow and ice prior to driving. Clearing your vehicle of snow and ice provides an unobstructed view for the driver and prevents snow and ice from flying off vehicles at high speeds and posing a hazard to others on the road.
- Reduce your speed. None of the other winter driving safety tips are of any use if we are driving too fast for the weather conditions. Driving too fast on snowy or icy roads is the primary cause of most Minnesota winter weather related crashes.
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. Under the best of driving conditions you need to leave at least one car length between you and the vehicle ahead. On snow and ice, you need much more room to safely respond or bring your car to a stop.
- Call 911 if you have an emergency of any kind. Always be aware of the highway you are traveling and the most recent exit you passed. In the Twin Cities area there are "highway helper" trucks on the alert for drivers in trouble. They sometimes will get to you even before the highway patrol has a chance to respond to your breakdown or other emergency.
Driving in winter weather -- snow, ice, wet and cold -- creates a great challenge for vehicles and drivers.
In ordinary driving condition we are used to reacting to the road situations. Winter driving safety requires us to anticipate an unsafe situation and be able to avoid it.
Check driving conditions before you head out for your winter vacation.
This is what things can look like on a snowy day in our East Saint Paul neighborhood!
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