The final topic to conclude Minnesota Winter Hazard Awareness Week is Winter Driving.  Chief Deputy Mike Norland from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office encourages drivers to be prepared for winter conditions with a winter survival kit. “I just want to let everybody know winter is coming pretty quick and to prepare yourself for what is to come,” said Norland.  “Make sure to have your winter survival kits ready in your car.  Make sure to keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car such as extra food, water, warm clothes, flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medication and more that you might need in case you are stranded out there.  Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.  Always keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle in case you get stuck.  If roads are closed it might take us longer to get out to you and that could mean spending the night.”

Norland also says to check the weather and if you must go out, use precautions.  “Obviously check the weather,” said Norland.  “Stay home and only go out if necessary.  Make sure you check what the conditions are prior to leaving.  Drive slowly and always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.  Accelerate and decelerate slowly applying the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids.  Increase your following distance to five to six seconds to give you that extra buffer for safety and know your brakes.  Whether you have anti-lock brakes or not keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake peddle.”