Drive with caution this winter

Medical Leader | Photo by TEDDY PAYNTER
Road conditions near Meta this past winter.

PIKEVILLE – Winter storms and cold temperatures should come as no surprise.

However, many of us are not prepared for its sudden arrival. Despite recent warm weather during the early weeks of winter, motorists are reminded to drive with caution, if conditions change.

“If you are prepared and informed you will be more likely to stay safe during winter storms,” District 12 Information Officer Sara George said.

George said the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) began preparation for winter storms in early fall.

“District 12’s seven counties’ maintenance facilities are prepared to make the highways safe,” she said. “Facilities and trucks are equipped with rock salt, salt brine and calcium chloride to help maintain the safest roads possible for drivers.”

Motorists are often blind-sided by changing conditions. A sudden drop in temperatures can result in roadways becoming hazardous and deadly.

“Just because it is not a blizzard does not mean conditions are not hazardous,” she stressed. “With the oils and exhaust that accumulate on highways, only a small amount of precipitation can cause the roadway to become slick, hindering your ability to control and stop the vehicle.”

George said the best way to stay informed of road conditions during winter storms is through social media. She said for information on road reports, snow plowing routes and traffic incidents, motorists can access the KYTC website.

“Motorists can go to District 12’s Facebook page for information,” she said. “It is updated constantly to keep motorists informed of the weather and road conditions.

She provided these safety tips:

Be prepared (keep gas tank full, emergency kits and lights in vehicle)

Check tire pressure

Clean head lights/ tail lights for better visibility

Do not pass salt trucks/ snow plows

Wear your seat belt

Use caution when operating a motor vehicle in slick conditions

Leave earlier and allow extra time to arrive at your destination

Do not be a distracted driver ( do not text while driving)

Wait until mid-morning to travel, if possible

Drive slow

Check roads/weather reports constantly

Increase distance between vehicles – it takes significantly longer to stop on snow covered or icy roadways

Clear all windows on your vehicle prior to travel – having unobstructed vision is vital to avoid running off of the road or having a collision

Use caution on bridges and overpasses as they are susceptible to freezing before roadways

Avoid using cruise control – cruise can cause the vehicle’s wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased

Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded for an extended period of time

Charge your cellular phone prior to departure

Take a blanket

Notify a family member or a friend of your travel plans prior to departure – if your travel is interrupted, someone will know