'Tis the Season to Travel with Care

As expected our first sustained intrusion of cold air has arrived in the Wisconsin River Valley and along with the biting winds has come some bouts of snow showers. For those of you that live in the path of lake effect snow, the winter season is now well underway with some measurable accumulations and likely more before the month of November is over. However for the rest of the region, our snowfall has come in spurts. Take for example on Monday when we had breaks of sunshine followed by moderate snow showers, which quickly gave way to just cloudy skies. Not quite instability storms like that of the spring and summer, but still enough snow to quickly coat the roads and make things slippery. Probably the biggest drawback from this is that many folks haven't adjusted yet for driving in snowy conditions. So with that in mind, take these rules of thumb to heart.

First off...slow down! Whether on the highway or cruising through town, reduce your speeds so that you can have better traction on the road and control of your vehicle. Next, allow plenty of distance between your car and others in front of you. This is especially important when roads are slick, and you need to brake suddenly. That extra 10 or 20 feet can really do wonders. Third, try to keep your windshield and back window as clear as possible. If they become ice covered, pull off the road and get out that brush or scrapper. You never know what you don't see that could turn into a big headache. Also, once we do get an appreciable snowfall, clear all the snow off your car. Not just the windows, but also the headlights, backlights, roof, hood and trunk of your car. Not only does this make it easier for others to see your car, but you avoid the possibility of snow or ice that may break off your car, either impeding your view driving or possibly impacting those motorists around you. Although you might have learned some of this many years ago in drivers ed, it's always good to get a reminder. Probably another important tip to keep in mind is if a big snowstorm is raging, don't travel. Roads will be snow covered, if not impassable in some cases, and the odds of you getting stuck greatly increase. The best bet is to allow the storm to pass and time for the road crews to get out there and clear the way.  Of course in the meantime, be sure your car is winterized, which includes checking all the fluids, the battery, tires, and other working parts of the car.  If you need help, be sure to visit your local mechanic and go through a checklist with them.  Better safe than sorry.  With the holidays now upon us, I hope you that everyone has an enjoyable time, and at the same time travels carefully.

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