Law enforcement's top 5 winter driving safety tips

By: Madeline Anderson Email
By: Madeline Anderson Email

Published: Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 --- 9:45 p.m.

After Monday's snowfall, this week is a good time for drivers to familiarize themselves with how to drive safely on slippery roads.

In Iowa County, deputies can respond to dozens, if not more than 100, weather-related calls in a single day. So Sheriff Steve Michek is asking drivers to follow five easy tips this winter to make sure everyone stays safe.

1. Maintain the vehicle: "You know they might have headlights out, a tail light out, those kinds of safety things. Maybe they're driving on poor tires."

2. Take more time to stop: "Because all wheel drive seems to be seem less, and a person can get up to speed pretty quickly and not really notice the slippage until you step on the breaks."

3. Keep something warm to wear inside the vehicle: "It is critical for people to carry some heavier winter-type clothing that they can slip on should they go in the ditch or become stranded on a snow-clogged highway or an ice-covered road."

4. Practice safe driving all winter long: "Always assume that just because the road looks wet, it might not be just wet, it may be icy. The black ice is one thing that surprises a lot of people."

5. Stay inside the vehicle along the side of the road, something Sheriff Michek learned firsthand 15 years ago: "It was early in the season, late Oct. if I recall, holy cow. I was sitting along the road in my squad car, and the next thing I know, I'm moving down the road, and I'm like, I'm in park."

While assisting a tow truck, Sheriff Michek had just gotten back into his car when another car crashed into him from behind. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, but he says it's a scary reminder of the dangers of a driver who's not paying attention or who's lost control.

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