Iowa DOT News Release

Driving conditions over much of the state may be tricky the next few days

Posted on: February 19, 2018

Feb. 19, 2018 – AMES, Iowa - Iowa Department of Transportation officials are urging motorists to evaluate the necessity of each trip during poor winter driving conditions, and monitor weather forecasts and road condition reports before heading out on the roads.

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If you must travel over the next couple of days, please consider the following recommendations.

Driving tips for safer winter travel

  • Focus all of your attention on the driving task. Put your phone away.
  • Slow down and allow extra travel time.
  • Keep a safe distance between your vehicle and others on the road.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle - back seat passengers, too.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • 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 of ice.
  • If conditions are severe enough to prevent safe driving, postpone your trip. If you’re already on the road, pull over to a safe place until road conditions improve.

If the roads are icy

  • If your vehicle begins to slide, take your foot off the gas pedal and shift into neutral, or if you have a manual transmission, depress the clutch. While it may be a natural instinct to slam on your brakes, this may cause your vehicle to slide further and result in loss of vehicle control.
  • If your vehicle does begin to skid on the ice, turn the wheel in the direction of the skid. This should help to steer your vehicle back on the right track.
  • Stay well behind the vehicle in front of you – this is definitely not the time to tailgate. Even if you feel confident that you know how to drive safely on ice, that does not mean the driver in front of you does. Be prepared in case other vehicles start to slide.
  • Remember, four-wheel drive vehicles have no advantage over other vehicles when it comes to driving on ice.
  • Make sure you and your passengers are wearing their seat belts or other safety restraints.

If you are in a crash, it might seem natural to get out of your vehicle to assess the damage. But in the majority of crashes, safety experts recommend remaining inside your vehicle with your seat belt fastened until help arrives, especially if you’re on a busy roadway.

Winter driving is always unpredictable, so be prepared for the unexpected.

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Iowa highway in the evening