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Time to reinforce winter weather rules of the road

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It's getting to be that time of year again. The snow is coming and so are complications associated with winter driving in North Dakota. Please slow down and allow extra time while traveling due to icy roads and other traffic conditions. If your traveling takes you across open country, tell somebody where you're going and what time to expect your arrival. Don't travel when travel is not advised.

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Be sure the wipers are not frozen to the windshield and wipe them clean with a paper towel or soft cloth. Keep your washer fluid filled. Make sure your headlights, brake lights and taillights are working, and that they are visible to other traffic. When conditions are slippery, you don't want to risk other drivers overlooking your presence. Don't forget to brush snow and ice off your side mirrors as you clean off your car. Likewise, you'll want to be sure that the rear window remains clear, this often means making sure the roof is free of snow as well. Your vehicle should be equipped with warm clothes, a blanket, tire chains, a small shovel, a first-aid kit, flashlight, sand or cat litter to place under your wheels for traction if you get stuck, and jumper cables in the winter months.

While you are driving in stormy conditions keep your headlights on. Do everything more slowly (turning, stopping, accelerating). Place a greater distance between your car and the one in front of you. Slippery conditions can triple the distance it takes to come to a complete stop. Drive defensively, and anticipate what other drivers may do. If your car begins to fishtail, turn in the direction of the skid and keep your foot off the brake. If the rear of your car veers to the right, turn your steering wheel in the same direction. When braking on a slippery surface, allow plenty of time and pump the brakes gently to avoid skidding. Anti-lock brakes are the exception to this rule. Remember that bridges and overpasses freeze more quickly than roads. Use extra caution while driving on them, and beware of "black ice." Before maneuvering through a turn, brake while the car is still traveling straight.

If you get stuck, rock your car gently back and forth to gain momentum. Do not spin your wheels in one place because this will only dig you in deeper. Shovel snow away from your tires, and from underneath the vehicle, if possible. Sand, salt, and cat litter can be used for traction under the tires, if needed.

It would be a good idea to move any vehicle off of the street after a heavy snow fall. This is so snow plows can clear the street the first time and not have to come back at a later date to finish the job. This is just a friendly reminder about the 72 hour parking restriction in the city of West Fargo. After 72 hours, any vehicle, including trailers, left on city streets are subject to being towed or ticketed. This gives snowplows a chance to clear the streets.

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