It's hard to believe that the Christmas season is upon us once again. It's the time of year that adults count their blessings, and the kids start putting together their 'wish list.' Ok, so the adults start putting together their wish lists too. It shouldn't be just the kids that have all the fun, right? This year I thought I would share the Iowa State Patrol's wish list with you, the motoring public.
Know the road conditions prior to travel
Make use of the many resources available to find road conditions prior to your trip. Listen to your local radio and TV stations. Dial 511 using your cell phone. On the web, use www.iowaroadconditions.org or www.511ia.org.
Home sweet home
If road conditions are bad, STAY HOME. Consider leaving early or postponing your trip to allow road crews time to clear the roads. If roads are closed or travel is not recommended, emergency services may not be able to get to you if you become stranded.
Wearing your seatbelt, and maintaining a safe speed and following distance are simply not enough when driving in adverse weather conditions. Be prepared for other drivers to make mistakes, and know how to prevent a crash when they do.
Carry a winter survival kit
Last winter there were several cases of motorists becoming stranded in winter weather, and being unprepared for what happened next. Make sure you have a survival kit in each of your vehicles just in case. Some items to include: cell phone, cell phone charger, warm clothing, flashlight, sand, shovel, high energy food, water, booster cables.
Move over, slow down for emergency lights
If you see flashing lights ahead, move over and slow down. Not only is it the law, it also prevents you from becoming part of the problem on the road. Give snow plows extra room when they are plowing. If there is a crash ahead, move over and slow down for law enforcement and emergency service vehicles.
It never fails that every Christmas you see stories in the news about families that are forever changed by a crash that takes the life of a loved one. Most people see these stories and think to themselves.'it will never happen to my family'. There are hundreds of families nationwide that had that very thought, and then everything changed. Take the time now to consider how you can put our 'wish list' to work and not allow your family to become a statistic.
Safe travels this Christmas from the Iowa State Patrol.
Trooper Vince Kurtz #495
Iowa State Patrol Safety Education