Ready or not, winter weather has now arrived

Published 5:23 am Friday, November 8, 2019

With the first accumulating snowstorm of the season, it’s a perfect time to brush up on safe winter driving habits.

Whether you’ve driven in snowy or icy conditions for many years or are new to Minnesota’s weather, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared before you venture out onto the streets.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 17 percent of all vehicle crashes occur during winter conditions.

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Regular tune-ups and maintenance are important on your car year-round, but during winter it is especially important to pay attention to your vehicle’s battery, wipers, coolant and tires, the organization recommends. Also make sure to keep gas above half full in the event you have to keep your car running.

Make sure your vehicle is clear of snow, ice and dirt from the windows, forward sensors, headlights, tail lights and backup camera.

Once you’re on the road, remember to drive slowly as it is more difficult to control or stop a vehicle when there’s snow or ice on the road. Learn how your vehicle handles winter conditions and know the weather forecasts for when you will be on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises people to keep blankets, flashlights, jumper cables and flares in your vehicle in the case other vehicles are not nearby in case of an emergency. It is also helpful to keep a shovel or broom in your vehicle and sand or kitty litter to use under your tires if you get stuck in the snow.

Though these items may go unused, it is better to be safe than sorry.