As you are wrapping up your last days at work and school and finishing those last minute preparations for the holidays, we wanted to take just a few minutes to give you some winter driving safety reminders. While the forecast for the Omaha-Council Bluffs area so far promises to bring us a relatively sunny Christmas weekend, if you are headed out on to the road to visit your loved ones, it’s important to know that winter driving requires some extra precautions.
- Always check the weather forecast and road conditions for your planned route before heading out on a trip. Know what numbers you can call or websites you can visit to get road conditions along the way. Most states now use the 511 system—meaning you can dial 511 on your phone to get up-to-date information for your location. Consider postponing your trip or altering your route if the weather is bad.
- Make sure that you car is equipped with an emergency survival kit in case you get stranded.
- Winter road conditions mean longer stopping distances and reduced visibility. It is more important than ever to maintain a larger distance between you and the car in front of you.
- Turn on your headlights to make sure that you can see and be seen.
- Slow down, even driving slower than the posted speed limit, to make sure that you can drive safely in less-than-ideal conditions.
- Do not use the cruise control. You, the driver, need to be able to make judgments about speeding up or slowing down on icy or snowy roads.
- Be particularly cautious of ramps, bridges and overpasses. These parts of the road tend to freeze more quickly than the rest of the roadway.
- Drive very cautiously when meeting, follow or passing snow plows; they travel very slowly, can move unpredictably, and have equipment that extends out from the vehicle. You need to slow down as you approach the snowplow from behind. If you are going to pass, make sure that you can see clearly beforehand and then give the plow plenty of room as you go around it.
Whether you will be at home or on the road over the next several days, we wish you a very happy and safe holiday season.