It is that time of year again. Winter driving conditions in the Midwest can change on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many days can be more dangerous than others. According to Wisconsin Department of Transportation statistics, an average of about 50,000 vehicle accidents occur in Wisconsin each winter season when roads are covered with snow, ice, or slush.
Winter Safety Tips
To potentially avoid these accidents, drivers can do the following to stay safe on the roads:
- Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights
- Pay attention to your surroundings and other vehicles
- Leave plenty of room for stopping
- Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows
- Use brakes carefully
- Watch for slippery bridge decks
- Do not use your cruise control in wintry conditions
- Prepare an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit may be useful, in all seasons, but especially in the winter. Some beneficial items are listed below.
- Extra Hats, warm socks, and gloves/mittens
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Booster cables and a windshield brush/scraper
- Drinking water and high-calorie, non-perishable food (trail mix, energy/protein bars)
- Sand or cat litter for traction
- Cell phone adapter/charger
Something to also keep in mind is vehicle maintenance. Harsh winters can be especially tough on vehicles, but the following will ensure a safer, smarter drive for you and your family.
- Keep your fuel tank at least half-full. This will help prevent fuel lines from freezing and provide necessary fuel should you become stranded
- Ensure tires have good tread/traction and are properly inflated
- Ensure that your battery, antifreeze, and cooling system are in good condition
- Replace worn windshield wipers. Have adequate washer fluid
- Make sure that headlights and other vehicle lights are operating properly
- Before driving, clear snow and ice from your vehicle’s windows, front and rear lights, hood, and roof
For more information, please visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Website.