AMES, Iowa – Nov. 20, 2015 – Ready or not, here it comes. Iowa Department of Transportation officials remind you that the first snowfall each year provides a new learning experience when it comes to winter driving skills.
First off, evaluate the need for your trip during poor winter driving conditions. If you have no other choice but to venture out, monitor weather forecasts and road condition reports before you leave. Log on to http://511ia.org/ and download the 511 app for the latest road conditions.
Bookmark trackaplow.iowadot.gov to see photos directly from Iowa DOT snowplows to get a feel for the conditions.
Since the weather has been relatively warm, the ground under the road is likely not going to be frozen. When the snow hits, it will probably turn to slush, that could be deep in places.
- Slush on the road can “pull” your vehicle, so keep a good grip on the wheel.
- Make sure you have filled the windshield washer fluid in your vehicle.
- Stopping distance is going to be longer than on dry pavements – keep your distance
- SUVs and four-wheel drive vehicles have no advantage over other vehicles when driving in slush.
Other winter driving tips to remember:
- Focus your attention on the driving task and slow down.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Put your cell phone away so you are not tempted to talk or text while driving, but make sure you have a charger in the vehicle in case you become stranded.
- Keep a safe distance from vehicles in adjacent lanes as strong wind gusts could push a vehicle outside its lane of travel.
- Take extra care if driving a high-profile vehicle such as a truck, van or sports utility vehicle, or when towing a trailer, as these vehicles are more prone to be pushed or even flipped by wind gusts.
- Turn on your headlights to see and be seen.
- Keep your windshield clear.
- Allow extra travel time.
Winter driving is always unpredictable, so be prepared for the unexpected.
To discover all the ways in which you can receive 24/7 Iowa travel information, visit http://511ia.org/.
For media access to an Iowa DOT Highway Division spokesperson during this winter event, call 515-233-7960.