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Surviving the Roads During Another Midwestern Winter
By Jeff Ogden, president of AAA Minnesota/Iowa
Not surprisingly, crash rates and injuries are higher in winter than any other season. However, many people would be surprised to know that most winter crashes do not occur during a snowstorm, but rather when the weather is clear and drivers are less attentive.
As the signs of winter approach including cold, snow, sleet and wind chill factors, now is the time to review two key factors necessary to driving through yet another winter weather season. If you perform the following safe driving tips and prepare a winter survival kit, you can reduce your risk of major transportation or safety problems this winter.
Safe driving tips revolve around fairly common sense behavior adjustments. Begin by clearing all snow and ice from the windows, hood, roof, trunk, turn signals, taillights and headlights of your vehicle. Next, since posted speed limits are for ideal conditions, slow down and increase the distance between vehicles if there is new snow/ice or limited visibility. Be ready for ice on bridges, hidden lane markings, stalled cars and snow plows. In the event of a skid, ease off the accelerator and apply but do not lock the brakes. Carefully steer in the direction you want your vehicle to go and straighten the wheel as soon as the car starts to go in the desired direction.
In addition to safe driving tips, preparing a winter survival kit can save your life. In the event of a crash or your vehicle leaving the roadway, it is usually best to remain with the vehicle rather than risking exposure or becoming lost looking for help. Some tools you want to have in the trunk or cargo area of your vehicle all season include an ice scraper and brush, warm winter apparel, tire traction material such as sand or cat litter, food, blankets, jumper cables, flashlights, a first aid kit, a cell phone, flares or a reflective triangle and a shovel.
Driving tasks are 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical....