Winter safety tips for motorists

RAPID CITY, SD — With a late season winter storm expected to hit the region hard on Wednesday, officials are preparing for travel-related emergencies. It’s important to be prepared for the unexpected, especially if you’re driving.

While the best way to stay safe during bad weather conditions is to stay home, for those who need to be on the road, it’s vital to have basic emergency supplies in the vehicle.

Unexpected issues such as traffic accidents and hold-ups can leave motorists stranded for hours. Emergency personnel are often stretched thin in such conditions, meaning help may be a long way off.

Having the right tools in your vehicle can help keep you safe and comfortable in such situations. So what do you need to be prepared?

It’s recommended to have an emergency bag that’s organized and accessible from inside the vehicle. It should have essentials like bottled water, snacks, warm layers, and a first aid kit. It’s also good to have a flashlight, a battery-operated or hand-crank radio, a whistle and extra batteries.

In case your cell phone dies or isn’t working, it may be helpful to have a card with emergency contact numbers and a map in your glove compartment.

Keep a shovel and a bag of sand or rock salt in the trunk to use if your vehicle becomes stuck. Windshield fluid, flares, and an extra ice scraper can also come in handy.

And if you need to run your car to keep warm, it’s recommended to do so for ten minutes every hour to conserve fuel.

If you’re stranded in deep snow, make sure you clear an area around the exhaust pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Finally, knowing how to drive in bad conditions is essential for your safety and the safety of others on the road.

If your vehicle starts to slide in slippery conditions, it’s important to stay calm and avoid over-correcting. Don’t break too hard or suddenly, and gently turn the steering wheel in the same direction that the back of your vehicle is sliding.

The main reason vehicles slide in icy conditions is because drivers are going too fast. Slow down and give yourself extra time to get where you’re going when the weather is bad.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News, Traffic & Accidents