With winter weather looming, the Wisconsin State Police is reminding drivers to take “common-sense precautions to meet the challenges of winter driving.”
In addition, the Wisconsin State Patrol is warning drivers to drive safely in winter weather.
“The posted speed limits, which are set for dry pavement, may be too fast for conditions when roads are snow covered and slippery. The slogan ‘Snow Means Slow’ also applies to four-wheel drive and other heavy-duty vehicles. They usually need just as much distance to stop as other vehicles,” says State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald. “A citation for driving too fast for conditions costs $213.10 with four demerit points assessed on the driver’s record.”
Fitzgerald also reminds drivers to completely clear windshields, lights, hood and roof of frost, ice and snow. Failure to do so could result in a $175.30 fine and two demerit points on a driver’s license.
To minimize the dangers of winter driving, the State Patrol offers the following common-sense safety tips:
- Always wear your seat belt. You and your passengers absolutely need this protection even in low speed “fender-bender” crashes that frequently occur on slick roads.
- Don’t use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even on roads that appear clear, there may be slippery spots, which can cause a loss of traction and a spinout if the vehicle is in the cruise-control mode.
- Watch for slippery bridge decks. They ice up quicker than adjacent pavement.
- Look farther ahead than you normally do. If vehicles ahead of you are swerving or show other signs of loss of traction, you should slow down and take extra precautions.
- Brake early. It takes much longer to stop in adverse conditions.
- Don’t pump anti-lock brakes. With anti-lock brakes, the correct braking method is to “stomp and steer.”
- Don’t be overconfident about the traction and stopping distance of four-wheel drive vehicles, which generally won’t stop or grip the road any better than two-wheel drive vehicles.
- Avoid cutting in front of trucks, which take longer than automobiles to slow down or stop.
- Leave plenty of room for snowplows. By law, you must stay back at least 200 feet from the rear of a snowplow.
- Obey the Move Over Law, which requires drivers to shift lanes or slow down in order to provide a safety zone for a law enforcement vehicle, tow truck, ambulance, fire truck, highway maintenance vehicle, or utility vehicle that is stopped on the side of a road with its warning lights flashing.
- If your vehicle gets stuck or becomes disabled, stay inside it with your seat belt fastened until a tow truck or other help arrives. If you’re inside your vehicle and buckled up, you have protection against other out-of-control vehicles. There’s no protection outside your vehicle.