Local police: Here are safety tips for winter driving

Local police: Here are safety tips for winter driving

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Michiana could face several inches of snow this weekend as the first major winter storm of the season approaches. Officials are reminding drivers of winter travel tips and what to bring along.

As the snow hits, drivers will need a snow brush to completely clean snow and ice off their vehicles.

Legally, vehicle owners are required to remove snow from all windows, lights and license plates before they get on the roadways.

Not only can violators get a citation, but police say these are people who are more likely to be involved in a crash.

The main reason officials want you to clean off your car is so you can be seen by other drivers, especially in heavy snow.

“The bottom line is clean it off, it’s for your safety as well as the safety of everybody else,” said Lieutenant Tim Williams said referencing this weekend’s probable snow storm.

“When we see a situation like this, we a high number of motor vehicle crashes,” Williams explained while urging people to prepare for the snow.  

Williams says when police respond to multiple crashes at the same time, it can cause problems. “That takes probably half a shift off the road to deal with these crashes while you have to have other officers protect the scene, so we don’t have any other crashes as well. That means we’re not going to be able to provide any services to somebody if they need it in an emergency situation,” he said.

If you do need to travel, police say to make sure you leave early and dress warm, slow down and increase your following distance, and most importantly have patience.  

“Speed limits are meant for ideal conditions, we’re not going to see any ideal conditions this weekend,” said Williams.

Police also suggest that you should keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Williams recommends having blankets, snacks and water, jumper cables, as well as items like flares and first aid supplies to name a few. Officials also say you should travel with your cellphone fully charged just in case you need to contact law enforcement or family in an emergency.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security also advises having a mechanic inspect your vehicle to make sure it is ready for winter travel.

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