Light snow has blanketed much of Iowa today, and heavier snow, along with increased winds, is expected beginning this afternoon and into Wednesday. This could make for a tricky evening commute for areas south of Interstate 80.
The best way to stay safe is to know before you go. Check travel conditions on www.511ia.org before you leave. This website has cameras for you to see actual road and weather conditions, all National Weather Services warnings, and any tow bans that might be in place.
If you are going to travel, pack your winter survival kit, fill your vehicle’s fuel tank, and carry a charged cell phone with you. Some simple safety tips include wearing your seat belt, reducing your speed, allowing plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, and never using cruise control when driving in winter weather.
The Iowa DOT’s snowfighters will continue to clear roads throughout the day today, overnight tonight, and into tomorrow morning. Strong winds are expected to significantly reduce visibilities later today, so use extra caution when driving around snowplows.
Snowplows generally operate at much slower speeds than other traffic. Snowplows can be forced sideways when clearing hard-packed drifts and generate a “snow cloud” that may impair the vision of drivers in nearby vehicles. Remain a safe distance behind the snowplow, pass only when clear; and never continue to drive alongside a plow. Allow plenty of space when passing the snowplow because the wing of the plow blade extends out to the side of the truck. Do not cut back into the lane of traffic too closely in front of a snowplow truck because the blade also extends in front of the truck.
If you become stranded while traveling, follow these 10 safety steps…
1.Pull as far off the road as possible to avoid getting hit by other vehicles.
2.Turn on your vehicle’s warning/flashing lights.
3.Tie a brightly colored cloth on your vehicle’s antenna to attract attention.
4.Call 911 for emergency assistance. Guide emergency personnel to your location by
observing any exit numbers, mileposts, crossroads, or landmarks.
5.Remain with your vehicle. Your vehicle provides the shelter necessary to survive
and allows you to be found by rescue personnel.
6.Remain calm and be patient. It may take considerable time for someone to reach
your vehicle during a storm.
7.Run your vehicle’s engine and heater about 10 minutes every hour, depending upon
the amount of gas in the tank.
8.Crack a window in the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.
9.Clear away any snow from the vehicle’s tailpipe so the exhaust can escape.
10.Use the resources in your winter survival kit.