Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Winter driving

Poster at right with most of what you need to know, but here are other points of information too.

Winter is a beautiful time of the year, especially when a fresh layer of new snow covers everything.

Winter can also be a very dangerous time of the year. If you plan on traveling during the winter, it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. Getting stranded during a winter storm can be a matter of life and death.

Simply following a few simple driving habits like planning ahead, driving at a safe and legal speed, driving alert and sober and buckling up could insure that you make it to your destination safely.

If you must use your car during a storm:

  • Plan your travel, selecting both primary and alternate routes.
  • Let someone know your travel routes and itinerary so that, if you don't arrive on time, officials will know where to search for you.
  • Check latest weather information on your radio.
  • Try not to travel alone - two or three people are preferable.
  • Travel in convoy (with another vehicle) if possible.
  • Drive carefully and defensively. Watch for ice patches on bridges and overpasses.
  • Take note of your odometer and coordinate it with exit numbers, mileposts, or crossroads so if you are in a crash or slide off the road you'll better be able to identify where you are and summon law enforcement officers, rescue workers, or tow truck operators more quickly to your location.
  • If a storm begins to be too much for you to handle, seek refuge immediately.
  • If your car should become disabled, stay with the vehicle, running your engine and heater for short intervals. Be sure to "crack" a window in the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.

Be courteous to those awaiting your arrival:

  • Call ahead to your destination just as you are leaving.
  • Let someone at your destination know the license number of your vehicle, what route you'll be traveling, and give a realistic estimate of your travel time.
  • If you have a cell phone, give that number to the party at your destination.
  • If you have friends or family at your place of origin, you should call when you arrive to let them know you have arrived safely.
  • If road conditions, tiredness, etc. delay or postpone a trip, make a phone call. Let people on both ends know of the delay.

For more information:

Questions about the content of this page:
Office of Public Affairs, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: November 4, 2013

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