Travel discouraged during dangerous winter Wisconsin storm
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - State officials warned Wisconsinites against traveling during Friday’s predicted winter storm.
Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Tim Carnahan said the snow, cold temperatures and wind will make interstates a dangerous place to drive.
“Don’t underestimate this storm,” Carnahan said. “The conditions are such that things like salt are going to be, in many cases, ineffective. It’s just too cold and the wind would blow the salt off of the roadway anyway.”
He said more officers will be strategically placed along busy interstates to help struggling drivers.
WisDOT’s 511wi.gov website provides real-time updates on whether highways are in good shape, slippery, snow- or ice-covered, or if drivers should avoid certain stretches altogether. Additionally, the site’s system of live traffic cameras lets drivers see for themselves.
Officials cited predictions of up to 55 mph winds could create blizzard-like conditions through Friday night – even if the snow has stopped falling. The strong winds will especially be a problem for larger vehicles which could tip or lose control in those conditions.
The agency also warns that if conditions become to challenging for tow companies, stranded drivers may have to wait longer for help. The sub-zero windchills expected, it noted, would mean becoming stranded could be dangerous.
WisDOT offered the following tips for what drivers can do before heading out and while on the road to stay safe:
Preparation before winter travel
- If you must travel, check 511wi.gov for road conditions or incidents along your route. Download the 511 Wisconsin app to monitor conditions on the go. Monitor 511 Wisconsin on Twitter (@511WI) for the latest incidents and information.
- Clear snow and ice from vehicles before traveling.
- Fill the gas tank and windshield washer fluid.
- Have a fully charged phone and an emergency kit in your vehicle.
- Alert others about your route and expected travel time.
Precautions while driving
- Snow means slow. Allow extra travel time, following distance, and reduce your speed during winter conditions.
- Be cautious on bridges, overpasses, and entrance and exit ramps.
- Don’t be overconfident in four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicles. All vehicles require additional time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
- Avoid using cruise control in winter conditions.
- Buckle up and put your phone down while driving. Every trip, every time.
- Leave room for maintenance vehicles and snowplows. Move over or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles.
- Stay at least 200 feet behind a working snowplow. Make sure that you can see the plow’s mirrors to ensure the driver can see you.
- In case of a crash or slide off, stay in the vehicle, turn on the hazards, call 911 and move vehicle(s) out of traffic if possible.
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