MSP reminds winter driversThe Minnesota State Patrol offers winter driving tips to help ensure that drivers and passengers travel safely until spring.
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Northern Minnesota drivers take for granted that winter travel can be hazardous. Streets and highways can change from dry to snow covered in a matter of hours and the inevitable spate of nasty road conditions, although expected, can catch the most careful driver by surprise. A recent fatality in Lake County is a tragic reminder.
In 2012 there were 16, 605 crashes on snowy or icy Minnesota roads, resulting in 28 deaths and 3,081 injuries, according to the Department of Public Safety. This number, they say, can be reduced.
“While winter conditions make driving challenging, these crashes and resulting deaths and injuries can be prevented if we buckle up and drive at safe speeds,” says State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.
As a reminder, the Minnesota State Patrol offers the following list of winter driving tips to help ensure that drivers and passengers travel safely until spring.
• Buckle up and make sure child restraints are secured tight enough. It is recommended to have bulky winter coats and blankets on top of the child restraint harness, not beneath, to ensure harness restraints fit properly.
• Drive at safe speeds according to road conditions, and allow plenty of travel time.
• Increase safe stopping distance between vehicles.
• Use extra precaution around snowplows. Keep at least five car-lengths behind plows.
• If skidding, 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, apply a steady firm pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump ABS brakes.
• Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood,
headlights, brake lights and directional signals.
• Headlights must be turned on when it is snowing or
• Do not use cruise control on snow/icy/wet roads.
• Move over for emergency responders on the shoulder of the road, it’s the law.
• Take less experienced teen drivers to an empty parking lot to practice winter driving skills.