Winter Driving…

Our first snow fall has arrived and it seems every year once that pesky white dust lands on the ground, people are not prepared. If you are like me, I enjoy driving. It doesn’t matter what season it is, but the one thing that is at the top of my driving priority list is safety.

When winter hits, I always recall my most treacherous trip of all times. I was attending college in Brookings and I was traveling to Rochester, Minn. for an annual cattle weekend with my family. For two days, the interstate was closed from Brookings to Sioux Falls and finally opened on the day of my departure. To remind you, this trip should have taken six hours in normal conditions. However, eight hours later, I arrived. It was an eye opening experience as I traveled mainly in one lane.

After that trip, I really thought to myself the stuff they teach you in driver’s education is legit. Increase your stopping distance, leave enough space between you and the car in front of you, clear all snow and ice from your car. Now that I have gotten older and continue to enjoy driving in any weather conditions, the one thing that gets under my skin is when people don’t use extra precautions.

I don’t want to criticize people’s driving but recently while on the road for a few meetings I have evaluated how people take time to prepare for their next trip. For example, while heading back to work a car was coming through the intersection with just enough snow whipped off their front windshield to see out. I just had to shake my head.

So therefore, I thought I had to write this post to inform people to take time to prepare themselves for traveling. Department of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers to take the following steps while traveling:

  • Wear your seatbelt.
  • Travel during the day.
  • Drive with your headlights on so you can be seen by other motorist from and front and rear.
  • Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions, and provide for plenty of travel time.
  • Use highly traveled road and highways.
  • Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route.
  • Visit safetravelusa.com for current road conditions. This is a huge lifesaver.
  • Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car. The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, distress flat, a shovel and matches.
  • Travel with a charged cell phone.
  • Most importantly, take the time to clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.

For the next couple months take time to prepare for your next destination. So, what are your winter driving priorities?

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