Our Opinion: Motorists, be careful out there

Monday, January 16, 2006

As we settle into the midst of winter and are confronted by the season's inclement weather patterns of snow, freezing rains, blowing snow, fog, and frigid, arctic temperatures, area motorists should prepare themselves and their vehicles for traveling in hazardous conditions on our streets, roads and highways.

Already, there have been too many traffic accidents throughout the Midwest caused by careless drivers on roads affected by winter weather and precipitation.

There are many safe-driving tips on driving in Iowa in the winter that should be adhered to, including:

*Check road conditions. Call 1-800-288-1047 for a recorded message on winter road conditions, or check the internet at www.weather.dot.state.ia.us.

*Be aware of patches of pavement where shadows from trees, bridges or buildings might have allowed frost, ice, or packed snow to remain.

*Be aware that ramps, bridges, overpasses and inclines occasionally might freeze sooner than pavement.

*Adjust your vehicle's speed to the conditions and increase following distances.

*Avoid the use of cruise control when snow, ice, freezing rain or sleet is on the pavement.

*Be wary of black ice (roads that look wet but actually are glazed with ice).

*Drive defensively and give yourself a little more time to get to your destination.

*Turn on your lights - to see and be seen.

*Drive well below the posted speed limit.

Area motorists, please pay heed to these safe driving tips and make sure the young drivers in your family read them and remember them.

We like having you around and don't want to see your health or lives ruined by careless driving in hazardous conditions.