Travel conditions are expected to deteriorate as a winter storm approaches the state. State Patrol Trooper Tom Williams of Mason City says if you do plan to travel, pack a winter survival kit in case something happens.
“Things that are important to have in a vehicle include an ice scraper, cell phone and charger, blankets, gloves, hats, an extra coat, water, non-perishable food items, a shovel, kitty litter for traction, a set of jumper cables, any needed medication, and a tow strap,” according to Williams. He says if you do get stranded — it’s important to take quick action.
“Call 9-1-1 immediately and give your location. Stay in your vehicle, that’s your shelter, don’t try to walk for help,” Williams says. “If it’s at night, keep your dome light on if possible. Make sure your exhaust pipe is clear from snow. Run your engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill, so you can conserve gas.” He says it’s important to not delay in calling 9-1-1 as law enforcement is going to be busy.
Williams says any time you head out this winter you should be well prepared for your trip. You should leave early if the weather report shows things are going to get bad. “Get plenty of rest the night before. Slow down to increase the control of your vehicle. You are required by law to maintain control at all times. Allow at least five seconds of following distance from the vehicle that’s in front of you,” Williams says. “Make sure all your lights are working, that you have good wiper blades and washer fluids, make sure that you have a good set of snow tires on.”
Williams says don’t get over confident simply because you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle. “Those of you who have four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicles, that does not improve you’re breaking ability,” he says. “It allows for excellent traction, but it does not improve your ability to stop in emergency situations.” You can check out road conditions 24 hours a day online at the DOT’s 511 travel information center.
(By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)