Patrol offers winter weather driving reminders

Special to The Hays Daily News

With December under way and winter officially beginning Friday, KHP is sending reminders about traveling in winter weather.

Some of the most important things to remember when traveling in adverse conditions are to slow down, turn off cruise control, turn headlights on and dress appropriately for the conditions.

As motorists venture out during one of the first winter storms of the season, the following tips are offered:

* Prepare the vehicle for winter travel by replacing wiper blades, ensuring tires have good tread and air pressure, and by checking the vehicle's fluids, exhaust system and other mechanical equipment. Drivers also should consider adding a shovel to their trunk, weight such as sand bags in the bed of a pickup (to help with traction and control), and carrying a sand or salt mixture in the trunk to help melt snow and gain traction.

* The vehicle also should be stocked with items that would be beneficial if involved in a crash or the vehicle becomes stuck. Beneficial items would be bottled water, blankets, non-perishable food items, a first-aid kit and a flashlight with extra batteries.

* Try to keep the gas tank full, as this adds weight for traction in adverse conditions, and lessens the possibility of running out of fuel.

* Clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors and lights, and use headlights to provide optimum visibility.

* Accelerate and brake gently, and increase following distance between you and other vehicles. You should increase your following distance by at least one, if not two, additional seconds when driving in adverse conditions. (Standard following distance for good weather is three seconds.) Be particularly cautious on bridges, and in curves, as they often are the slicker parts of the road.

* If the vehicle loses traction and begins to slide, steer in the direction wanted to go.

* Allow for more time when traveling.