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Here's how to drive safely when Wisconsin snow hits

Here in La Crosse, we know a little something about winter, snow and ice. We know, too, that it takes a combination of driving skills and concentration to avoid wintertime car accidents that can leave people with serious injuries.

WXOW recently ran a short article on its website, listing winter driving tips, but we'd like to expand on the list with some help from the folks at AAA.

The auto club's safety tips include the following:

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Don't mix radial tires with other types of tires.
  • Don't use cruise control when driving on snow, ice or wet roads.
  • Always look to where to you want to go and always steer to where you want to go.
  • Don't drive while fatigued; winter driving requires your full attention.
  • Watch weather reports, especially before long-distance driving or drives out into rural or isolated areas.
  • If you must drive a long distance in bad weather, let others know your route and give them an estimated time of arrival.
  • Keep your vehicle in top operating condition in winter.
  • Keep at least half of your gas tank full in winter in order to avoid gas-line freeze-ups.
  • If you become snowbound, AAA says, stay in your vehicle. It provides shelter from the weather and makes it easier for emergency crews to find you.
  • Don't warm up your vehicle in an enclosed area such as a garage.
  • Don't allow the exhaust pipe of your vehicle to become blocked with snow. A clogged exhaust pipe can send toxic, deadly fumes into the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
  • Accelerate slowly and come to a stop slowly.

Perhaps most important of all: Drive slowly. Speed is always dangerous, but speed on snow and ice can quickly lead to an out-of-control vehicle.

Source: WXOX: "Winter Safety: Driving Tips," Jan. 12, 2012

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