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Letter to the editor – Reminding motorists to be safe during winter weather

By Staff | Dec 13, 2007

To the EDN:

The Christmas season is upon us and with it the possibility of winter weather. The first snow always reminds us that driving in winter is a whole different experience than in any other season. The best time to revive your winter driving skills is before the storm hits, not after you find yourself in the ditch. With that in mind, the Iowa State Patrol would like to remind motorists of several safety tips.

n OCCUPANT RESTRAINT – Make sure you and your whole family is buckled up before you leave the driveway, on every trip.

n SPEED, FOLLOWING DISTANCE – Ensure that your speed is consistent with the surface condition, and maintain at least a 3 second following distance.

n MAINTAIN CONTROL OF YOUR VEHICLE – It is your responsibility to maintain control of your vehicle at all times, regardless of surface conditions.

n WATCH FOR BLACK ICE AND FROST – Recognize weather conditions that can produce black ice, and frost on road surfaces. Bridges and overpasses are at a greater risk. Watch for covered areas where the sun has not melted early morning frost. Take your cruise control off.

n TRAVEL WITH A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT – Items to include: cell phone, charger, blankets, energy food, water, shovel, red flag, and candle.

n USE GOOD JUDGEMENT IN TRAVEL DECISIONS – Use 511 from your cell phone, and www.iowaroadconditions.org for updated road conditions. If road conditions are bad and travel is not recommended, DO NOT GO OUT!

The following is a list of road condition numbers for surrounding states.

MINNESOTA

1-800-542-0220 OR 511

WISCONSIN

1-800-762-3947

ILLINOIS

1-800-452-4368

MISSOURI

1-800-222-6400

NEBRASKA

1-800-906-9069 OR 511

SOUTH DAKOTA

1-866-697-3511 OR 511

NORTH DAKOTA

1-866-696-3511 OR 511

COLORADO

1-303-639-1111

WYOMING

1-888-996-7623 OR 511

MONTANA

1-800-226-7623 OR 511

KANSAS

1-800-585-7623 OR 511

With your help, we can make this Christmas season a safe and memorable one. Please drive defensively.

Respectfully submitted,

Trooper Vince Kurtz

Safety Education

Iowa State Patrol