Winter weather set to wallop IA…DOT advises be prepared for travel challenges

News, Weather

January 19th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Frigid temperatures statewide and an impending snowstorm for northern Iowa reinforce the need for motorists to prepare for winter travel challenges. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is advising motorists who must travel in these conditions to take extra precautions, including making sure to have a fully charged cell phone, adequate fuel in your vehicle’s tank and a survival kit in the vehicle.

A basic survival kit can be a live-saver in the event of a mechanical breakdown in the dangerous temperatures or if you are stranded during a winter storm. The kit should contain a blanket or sleeping bag; high energy, nonperishable food; water; flashlight and extra batteries; matches or a lighter; candles; warm gloves; small first aid kit; hat or stocking cap; insulated footwear; and winter coat. The kit should contain enough supplies for the number of passengers in the vehicle. Other winter travel supplies should include a snow shovel; scraper and snow brush; sand or strips of carpet for traction; flares/reflectors; tool kit; jumper cables; and a good spare tire, lug wrench and jack. Learn more about how to prepare your winter survival travel kit by visiting the Iowa DOT’s YouTube website at: http://www.youtube.com/iowadot.

Motorists are urged to monitor weather and road conditions before traveling – stay informed and plan ahead – road condition information is available from the resources listed below. 

  • Web: Visit the 511 Iowa website at www.511ia.org.
  • Twitter: County and metro area Twitter feeds are available. Sign up at 511ia.org.
  • Phone: When in Iowa call 511, or 800-288-1047 from outside of Iowa.
  • Rest areas: Free Wi-Fi service is available at the Iowa DOT interstate rest areas so you can view the www.511ia.org website on your computer from the convenience of your vehicle; or step indoors to view the website and radar images on the easy-to-operate kiosk.
  • Dynamic message boards: National Weather Service warnings are posted on the message boards displayed over highways at key locations throughout the state. When necessary, interstate closure information is also made available on these signs.
  • Mobile communication device: The www.511ia.org road condition map and text route reports are available for viewing on your mobile communication device. Cell phones and other mobile communication devices should only be used when parked and off the traveled portion of the roadway.
  • E-mail: Receive winter travel advisories and periodic updates directly in your inbox. Visit www.news.iowadot.gov to subscribe.