Winter driving safety tips

By KBJR News 1

Winter driving safety tips

December 4, 2013 Updated Dec 5, 2013 at 2:19 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Law enforcement officers have been responding to numerous car crashes across Minnesota due to the recent snow storm that dumped piles of snow across the Midwest.

Between Monday and Tuesday, the Minnesota State Patrol responded to 265 car crashes across the state. Four of these crashes were fatal with 36 other crashes involving injuries.

On Wednesday, deputies responded to 175 car crashes, 192 vehicle spin outs and one jackknifed semi between midnight and 11am.

The Minnesota State Patrol is reminding everyone to use extra caution on these snow and ice covered roads across the state. Officers offer these safe winter driving tips:
• Avoid unnecessary travel if conditions are too poor.
• Buckle up, and make sure child restraints are secured. It is recommended not to use bulky clothing when securing a child in a restraint. Use blankets on top of the child restraint harness, not beneath.
• Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions, and provide for plenty of travel time.
• Increase safe stopping distance between vehicles.
If skidding, remain calm, ease foot off the gas, and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.
• Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.
• Headlights must be turned on when it is snowing or sleeting.
• Do not use cruise control on snowy/icy/wet roads.
• Use extra precautions when driving around snowplows by keeping at least five car-lengths behind plows.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is also reminding motorists to not crowd the plow. MnDOT encourages motorists to give plows room to work and to slow down when encountering plows.

Motorists also are reminded that as temperatures drop, ice may form and create slippery spots. Bridges also may become slippery.

Safety officials also remind drivers to make sure you have a Winter Weather Emergency Kit in your car, in case of an accident.

The kit should include:
• Coffee can and small candles and matches to use to melt snow for drinking water.
• Brightly colored bandana or cloth to hang from the vehicle window to signal help is needed.
• Large plastic garbage bags to tie around feet to keep them warm.
• Safety pins to secure the garbage bags.
• Whistle to alert authorities.
• Snacks.
• Cell phone adapter to plug into lighter.
• Plastic flashlight and spare batteries.
• Extra hats, mittens, boots and blankets.

For the latest road conditions in Minnesota click here.
For the latest road conditions in Wisconsin click here.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns