Chief deputy warns drivers to use caution now that winter has arrived
Drivers beware: unsafe road conditions mean slow down. That's a reminder from Hubbard County Chief Deputy Frank Homer. "It seems like we forget how to drive in this weather over the summer but we should be used to driving in these conditions," he...
Drivers beware: unsafe road conditions mean slow down. That's a reminder from Hubbard County Chief Deputy Frank Homer.
"It seems like we forget how to drive in this weather over the summer but we should be used to driving in these conditions," he said.
With the first significant snowfall of the season, the county had an accident on Highway 36, north of 200, Homer said. A vehicle slipped off the road and went into some water, he said.
"We really haven't had the bad weather until this last weekend, and yes, we had a few fender benders here and there," Homer said.
The sheriff's department urges people to drive safely, "especially during the holidays with the extra traffic we're going to have," he said.
Homer likes to give the same advice that parents give to their teenage drivers.
"Don't drive fast, you're probably going to end up driving under the speed limit. Check the road conditions.
"Do not be in a hurry to drive, make sure you have good tires on your vehicle," he added.
Winter driving is different that summer driving, Homer said.
"When we're talking slick highways, don't be concerned about passing," he said. "It's one of the worst things to do."
The Departments of Public Safety (DPS) and Transportation (MnDOT) also urge motorists to drive safely with snow and ice on the roads.
During 2005-07 in Minnesota, officers reported snowy or icy road conditions in nearly 41,000 crashes that resulted in 159 traffic deaths and more than 13,000 injuries.
Officials advise motorists to re-learn how their vehicle responds on snow or ice by testing brakes to get a feel for the road. Officials also stress that motorists should drive at safe speeds according to road conditions and keep a safe stopping distance between vehicles.
Motorists should use extra precautions when driving around snowplows by keeping at least five car-lengths between their vehicles and plows.
For weather-related road condition information call 511 or visit www.511mn. org.
DPS and MnDOT recommend the following for safe winter driving:
-Always use seat belts.
-Adjust speed to road and weather conditions -- lower speeds minimize crashes.
-Keep a safe stopping distance between vehicles, and leave extra room between your vehicle and snow plows or other removal equipment.
-Accelerate and decelerate slowly on icy/snow-covered roads to retrain traction and avoid skids.
-Do not use cruise-control.
-Do not "power up" hills which may cause wheels to spin. Build momentum before reaching a hill and don't stop while traveling uphill. Reduce speed going downhill.
-Know your brakes -- keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of the foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
-Give yourself plenty of travel time -- don't put your schedule before safety.
-Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.
-Headlights must be turned on when it is snowing or sleeting.