EDITORIAL: Use caution when on-the-goWinter’s here and that means the potential to get hit with an onslaught of ice, snow and limited visibility, making driving difficult — if not impossible — at times.
Winter’s here and that means the potential to get hit with an onslaught of ice, snow and limited visibility, making driving difficult — if not impossible — at times.
To survive treacherous winter driving conditions, motorists must be patient and follow common-sense precautions, the Wisconsin State Patrol advises. Don’t drive too fast for conditions; remember, the posted speed limits are for dry pavement and those speeds may be hazardous when roads are slick. “Snow Means Slow” also applies to four-wheel-drive and other heavy duty vehicles, which need ample stopping distance on slippery roads, just like others. A citation for driving too fast for conditions costs $213.10 with four demerit points.
Winter weather can limit visibility as well, so drivers must remove all frost, ice and snow from their vehicle’s windows. Clearing only a small patch on a windshield or rear window isn’t sufficient. Removing snow and ice from the lights, hood and roof helps improve visibility and safety, too. Violating state law on keeping glass clear at all times costs $175.30 with two demerit points assessed on the driver’s record.
During severe winter storms, the wisest decision often is to stay put and not drive. Slowed or stalled traffic on slippery roads delays snowplows and tow trucks trying to get the roads cleared. But when winter travel is a must, here are some tips to minimize the dangers:
—Always wear a seat belt even if traveling a short distance.
—Don’t use cruise control in wintry conditions.
—Watch for slippery bridge decks.
—Look farther ahead than normal.
—Brake early and correctly.
—Don’t pump anti-lock brakes.
—Don’t be overconfident about the traction and stopping distance of four-wheel-drive vehicles.
—Avoid cutting in front of trucks.
—Leave plenty of room for snowplows.
Snowplow drivers have received the state’s appreciation in a proclamation by Gov. Scott Walker. The proclamation notes before, during and after winter storms, Wisconsin’s snowplow drivers apply years of knowledge and skill in a determined effort to keep roadways safe for all motorists and maintain the mobility of commerce to support the state’s economy.
The proclamation also encourages motorists to exercise caution whenever they encounter snowplows and to limit travel during storms to allow snowplow drivers to complete their jobs safely and efficiently. Removing snow and ice from over 100,000 miles of roads and streets in Wisconsin is a tremendous accomplishment performed primarily by county and municipal highway departments, according to the state’s department of transportation secretary. Snowplow drivers often work extraordinarily long hours during the worst imaginable weather conditions to maintain safe roads and keep commerce flowing.
As they do their jobs, the public can also do its part. The following are some more safety tips:
—Before venturing out, call 511 or go online to www.511wi.gov to check road conditions.
—If there’s ice and snow, take it slow.
—State law requires staying at least 200 feet behind a working snowplow.
—If it’s necessary to pass a working snowplow, be careful.
—Always buckle up and drive sober to help reduce the number of preventable traffic deaths.