With the weather forecast calling for treacherous driving conditions, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation urges all motorists to prepare for rapidly changing road conditions and to use extreme caution while driving.
WisDOT traffic safety officials offer the following advice for safe driving during severe winter weather:
-To check on the latest winter road conditions, call 1-800-ROADWIS (762-3947) or view this information on the Web . Dial 911 only for emergency situations.
-Make sure your gas tank is full and you have some food, warm blankets and clothing in the vehicle in case of emergency. If you have a cell phone, make sure it's fully charged and working.
-Tell others about your travel route and itinerary, so that if you don't arrive at your destination, they can contact law enforcement officers and inform them where to look.
-Keep others informed if you're going to be late or encounter problems so they won't worry needlessly.
-It's safer to travel with passengers and convoy with other vehicles than it is to drive alone.
-Remember, the speed limit is based on clear roads and dry pavement-don't drive too fast for conditions.
-Watch for slippery spots on bridges and overpasses.
-Take note of mileposts, exit numbers or crossroads in case you slide off the road or are involved in a crash so that law enforcement officers and tow truck operators can find you.
-If the storm makes driving too hazardous or if your car breaks down, stay in the vehicle. Run your engine and heater for short intervals to stay warm. Be sure to crack the window to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.
“Conditions can deteriorate rapidly,” says Dennis Hughes of the WisDOT Bureau of Transportation Safety. “If you must drive, don't take unnecessary risks. You can prevent traffic crashes even during bad storms and slippery road conditions if you slow down and pay strict attention to your driving. It's also important to buckle up just in case you can't avoid a crash or your vehicle slides off the roadway.”