WisDOT reminds drivers of safe driving tips ahead of winter weather

Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 11:06 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With winter approaching, officials are warning residents of dangerous seasonal driving conditions.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is offering tips to drivers ahead of snow, sleet and ice this winter season. WisDOT reported more than 15,000 crashes that killed 38 people in Wisconsin last winter.

Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Tim Carnahan said drivers should re-familiarize themselves with the way vehicles react to slippery conditions.

“Recognize that you must slow down and allow more time for your trips no matter how far you travel. Make sure your vehicle is prepared to make it through the winter months,” Carnahan said.

State law requires drivers to travel at speeds reasonable for current conditions. Posted speed limits are set for clear and dry conditions and may be too high for slippery conditions. Winter crashes are often caused by drivers going to fast in hazardous conditions, WisDOT says.

When approaching a snowplow that’s clearing ice or snow, or laying salt or sand, state law requires drivers to stay at least 200 feet back on a highway with a speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour. On roads with lower speed limits, drivers should stay at least 75 feet back.

Drivers should stay off the roads during severe weather. The State Patrol recommends the following tips for driving in the winter.

  • Check 511wi.gov for road conditions or incidents along your route.
  • Allow extra travel time and following distance while driving slower.
  • Don’t be overconfident in four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicles, as all vehicles require additional time and distance to stop in slippery conditions.
  • Avoid using cruise control in winter conditions.
  • Always wear your seatbelt, and refrain from using your phone when behind the wheel.
  • Have a fully charged phone and an emergency kit in your vehicle.
  • Stay bucked up in your vehicle and call for help if you get stranded or slide off the road.

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