Like a kid on Christmas Eve, Mother Nature couldn’t wait to unwrap her winter weather over the weekend, dropping enough snow across the state to cause road closures from Laramie all the way …
Like a kid on Christmas Eve, Mother Nature couldn’t wait to unwrap her winter weather over the weekend, dropping enough snow across the state to cause road closures from Laramie all the way through to South Pass. Revelers from Park County who enjoyed a sunny fall afternoon at War Memorial Stadium Saturday awoke Sunday to considerable snowfall and sub-zero temps.
And while the snow may have been negligible in Park County, icy conditions weren’t, reminding all of us that hazardous driving conditions are about to become a way of life for the foreseeable future.
We all get a bit rusty after a few months of driving on dry roads in warm conditions, so here are a few winter driving reminders courtesy of the American Automobile Association and safemotorist.com. Keep in mind the three key elements of safe winter driving: Stay alert, slow down and stay in control. A proactive approach would include winterizing your car, if you haven’t done so already — scheduling a routine maintenance check on the works, including tires, belts and hoses, all necessary fluids and brakes and wipers.
When it’s time to hit the road, or if you’re planning a road trip out of town, make sure you’re rested. Fatigued driving is an accident waiting to happen; make sure you’re in the right frame of mind to handle an emergency situation if and when one should arise. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and that you have plenty of fuel for the trip. (A good rule of thumb is to try and keep your gas tank half full.) Also, don’t use cruise control while driving on slippery surfaces.
Winter driving conditions such as rain, snow and ice dramatically affect the braking distance of a vehicle. When handling slippery winter roads, the keys to safety are slower speeds, gentler stops and turns and increased following distances, according to safemotorist.com.
It may sound like common sense, but for drivers who haven’t driven during the winter months for a while, and especially for those new to driving or to the area, it can be hard to judge a safe speed. It’s recommended that drivers reduce their speed to half the posted speed limit or less under snowy road conditions.
Additionally, keep your windows clear. Don’t start driving until the windows are defrosted and clean — even if you’re only going a short distance.
If an accident occurs, or you find yourself stuck in the snow, stay with your vehicle. It’s the safest place to be until help arrives. Keep a survival kit in your car consisting of all the necessities: food, blankets, warm clothing and plenty of water. Keep your cell phone charged and have a flashlight and a first aid kit at the ready.
November is almost upon us, and folks will soon be hitting the roads of Wyoming en masse to celebrate the holidays. Take a few extra minutes before each adventure to ensure you have all you need for the safest trip possible. And last but most definitely not least, buckle up.