Written by: Brandon Gerlach
Winter storm and blizzard warnings have been issued for western Minnesota through western Wisconsin. The Minnesota State Patrol is urging all motorists to use extra caution this weekend on the roads and has released a list of safety precautions you can take to ensure safe travels this weekend. Check out the latest on this weekend's weather here. You can also view live cameras on road conditions by clicking here.
When it comes to winter driving, take these steps before you head out:
* Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals. Drive with lights on for best visibility.
* If the conditions are too poor, do not travel unless necessary.
* Buckle up — it’s your best defense in a vehicle.
* If taking a trip, tell someone at your destination of your expected arrival time and your travel route.
* Make sure you have emergency items such as scraper/brush, small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction. Blanket(s), heavy boots, warm clothing and flashlights are also important. Keeping food and bottled water in the vehicle is also a good idea in the event you become stranded in a snow storm.
Once you’re on the road, be smart about how you’re driving:
* Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions, and give yourself plenty of travel time. Be patient, there will be traffic.
* Increase stopping distance between vehicles.
* Use extra precautions when driving around snowplows by keeping at least five car-lengths behind plows.
* 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.
* If vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply a steady firm pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump ABS brakes.
* The law required drivers to turn on headlights when there is precipitation.
* Do not use cruise control on snow/icy/wet roads.
* Move over for flashing lights. Law enforcement, tow trucks and other emergency vehicles will be assisting motorists who are involved in crashes or become stranded. Always look for flashing lights and move over at least one lane as soon as possible to protect yourself and those working on the side of the road. If you cannot move over, slow down.