Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
State Patrol Reminds Iowans to Use Their Winter Driving Skills.
Check weather and road conditions before your trip. - There are many resources to help you plan accordingly. 511ia.org can tell you which roads are travelable and which aren’t. Don’t forget to check the forecast too. Iowa weather can change rapidly. Is your trip necessary? Can it be delayed until the weather passes and roads are cleared? Remember, safety first!
Maintain a safe speed for the conditions. - Remember speed limits are set for ideal conditions. When visibility is reduced and/or road surfaces deteriorate, reduce your speed.
Maintain a safe following distance. - In stormy, snowy, and icy conditions, increase your following distance. Remember your stopping distance on adverse highway conditions will be many times greater than that of ideal, dry conditions.
Be a safe defensive driver. – Don’t just watch how you’re driving. Pay attention to the drivers around you. If another motorist is driving too fast or erratically, slow down or take an alternate route.
Use caution when approaching a snowplow. - Approach snowplows with caution. Be patient. Do not follow too close and resist the urge to pass a snowplow unless you are sure you can do so safely.
Always wear your safety belt. - Make sure that all of the occupants in your vehicle, especially children wear the protection of the safety belt.
Prepare your vehicle - Everyone should remember to winterize their vehicle before bad weather hits. Winterizing involves checking the mechanical condition of your vehicle, including the tires, exhaust system, battery, wipers, and all of the lighting equipment.
Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car – In the event that you do become stranded while traveling in winter weather, you want to be prepared. Keep an emergency kit in your car filled with: a flashlight with extra batteries, an ice scraper, a cloth or paper towels, a small first aid kit, a blanket or sleeping bag, a well charged cell phone, extra gloves or mittens, a hat and scarf, a small shovel (perhaps collapsible), salt or sand for traction, matches or a lighter, high calorie non-perishable food (candy bars, granola bars, cans of stew, raisins, etc.), jumper cables and an emergency sign or warning triangles.
When a Crash Occurs – If you’re involved in a car crash during inclement weather, stay in your vehicle and call for help. Cold temps and low visibility can make you disoriented. You don’t want to get lost in a storm or hit by a passing motorist who can’t see you or the road very well. Let your car provide shelter until help arrives.