Driving safely in the winter

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Friday, December 19, 2014

The holiday season is officially upon us. As Christmas decorations light up streets in our community, it is hard not to embrace the holiday spirit this time of year. Like many during the holiday season, I enjoy reflecting on all of the reasons I am thankful, spending time with loved ones and of course, all of the great holiday food.  

Many families throughout the U.S. travel during the holidays, and while some of us enjoy the lightly, snow-covered landscapes, this also signifies that road conditions could be hazardous. If you have travel plans this year, I encourage you to take some extra precautions to ensure that you reach your destination safety.

Working towards this goal, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has provided us with some safety tips this holiday season, and I would like to share that information with you. Before you leave this year, I encourage you to check the weather and find out the condition of the roads you will be traveling on. Additionally, make sure your vehicle is working properly which includes: checking your tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses. I also encourage you equip your vehicle with some emergency supplies like blankets, flashlights, first aid kit, jumper cables and salt to list a few.

After you leave, please give yourself plenty of time to get to your location. If there is snow and ice on the roads, take it slow and leave plenty of room between vehicles. There is limited visibility out there so remember to stay attentive and reduce your speed. Although you might be late to your destination, it is not worth the risk just to be on-time.

Sometimes, roads that seem dry could actually be covered in black ice. Especially on ramps and bridges, again, take it slow to ensure that you remain in control of your vehicle. Although you might have an SUV, truck or other four-wheel drive vehicle, that does not help you stop sooner or maintain control once your vehicle loses traction. 

There are a couple of services out there that can help you monitor the road conditions. Visit trafficewise.in.gov to monitor the traffic and road alerts. You also can call 1-800-261-ROAD (7623) to receive roadway information. For additional safety tips provided by INDOT, please visit www.in.gov/indot/2439.htm.

I hope you enjoy your time with loved ones this holiday season, and remember, if you are traveling to see them, or driving in our community, please take it slow.

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Rep. McNamara (R-Mount Vernon) represents portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties. She serves as the Vice Chair of Courts and Criminal Code Committee and is a member of Government and Regulatory Reform Committee, Judiciary Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction Committee.