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FEATURED PHOTO · Drivers should use caution in winter, as accident chances increase with poor road conditions. | Photo submitted
Marion Fire Department Column: Dealing with road conditions in winter
by Article courtesy of the Marion Fire Department and City of Marion · January 11th, 2018

With the recent snowfall, it is a good time to review some winter driving tips. Stay safe and practice the following in inclement weather.

1. If the road conditions are poor, don't travel unless you have to.

2. Wear your seat belt on every trip. Make sure that kids are safely secured in the proper sized car seat.

3. Avoid driving while you are tired. Slowed reaction time could mean the difference between avoiding an accident and being involved in one.

4. Never use drugs or alcohol and then drive. Use a designated driver.

5. Keep your gas tank at least half full.

6. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread left on them.

7. Do not use cruise control on any slippery surface.

8. Be careful of roadways that are elevated. The cooler temperatures under the elevated portion may allow moisture to freeze and create a layer of ice.

9. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.

10. Slow down. Reducing your speed gives you more time and control if you start to skid.

11. Increase your following distance so you have more time to react if something happens in front of you.

12. If you have to travel up a large hill, have enough speed starting at the bottom of the hill so you can make it all the way to the top. Once you are stopped on a hill that is snow and ice covered, it is difficult to get moving again.

13. Make sure you have a cell phone with you.

14. Pack items like a shovel, blankets, bottled water, hats and gloves.

15. If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow and it is near blizzard conditions outside, it is best to stay in your vehicle. It provides you protection from the wind and the snow.

16. Make sure your exhaust pipe isn't clogged with snow, ice or even dirt. This can cause carbon monoxide to back up inside of your car.

17. If you are stranded in the snow, run the engine just long enough to keep warm and shut it off to conserve fuel.

18. Carry an abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter that you can place under your tires to help gain some traction.

19. Make sure that someone knows that you are traveling. They should also know the route you are taking and what time you think you will get there. That way someone can call for help if you do not arrive at your destination.

20. Maintain your car for winter driving. Make sure the windshield washer fluid will not freeze up and your wiper blades are in good repair. Have a mechanic check your vehicle over and check the antifreeze level to make sure it is strong enough for cold weather driving.

The Marion Fire Department finds that most trips people take when the road conditions are poor could have waited until road conditions improved. If you are involved in a car accident and are hurt, we will respond and help you. However, it will take us longer than normal to get there, due to the poor road conditions.

Here are a few tips to prevent falling when walking on snow and ice-covered surfaces.

1. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going. Walk at a slower pace than normal. Rushing will increase your odds of falling.

2. Wear shoes or boots with good traction.

3. Stay on designated walkways, or areas that have been treated with salt or sand.

4. Look far enough ahead to see if there are slick areas ahead. Watch for steps, other people, and vehicles. Avoid using headphones or anything else that would prevent you from hearing cars or other people.

5. If you are going up or down outside steps, use the handrail to provide balance if you start to slip.

6. Be careful when entering buildings because the floor may be wet from melted snow.

Use these safety tips to avoid any kind of an accident or injury due to snow-covered roads or pavement.
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