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Tips for driving safe in the upcoming winter

Winter can be a great time of year to experience North Dakota blanketed in a sheet of white.

But compared with any other time of the year, traveling can be as treacherous as it gets.

Lieutenant Aaron Hummel of the North Dakota Highway Patrol recently offered several tips for drivers this winter season. He and the rest of his department hope that residents take heed, not only say they are safe, but so fellow travelers are safe, as well.

First, and maybe most obvious, they "need to understand that winter conditions can be quite dangerous," he said.

Therefore, drivers should follow several steps to ensure safe travel, including:

• Always wear a safety belt:

victims are 11 times more

likely to survive with one

than without.

• Making sure the vehicle

is ready for winter by

installing snow tires,

checking lights and win-

dow wipers, making sure

the battery is holding a

charge, and the fuel system

has been maintained prop-


• Check road reports and

weather alerts for the

entire trip, including the

final destination. Contact

the North Dakota Depart-

ment of Transportation's

24-hour hotline by dialing

511, or visit their travel


travel-info-v2 to see road

conditions and closures.

• Let someone know travel

plans and do not deviate

from them.

• Stay alert and maintain a

slow and steady speed ac-

ceptable for the condi-


• Never use cruise control.

• When applying the break,

use a steady, firm pres


• If caught in a blizzards,

stay in the vehicle and, if

possible, park it facing into

the wind.

• Be sure to keep tailpipe

clear of snow to hinder

chances of carbon monox-

ide poisoning.

Winter travelers also should consider having emergency supplies on hand in case help is a ways away. Besides having a cell phone ready to call in a crash or other emergency, here is a list of must-haves for trips of any length:

• Shovel.

• Tire chains.

• Booster cables.

• Fire extinguisher.

• Windshield scraper.

• Bright red or

orange cloth.

• Flashlight.

• Sleeping bag or blankets,

as well as layered cloth-


• 50 feet of nylon cord.

• A 3-pound metal coffee can

with candle and matches

to melt road ice for trac-


• Drinking water and high-

energy food.

In an emergency, dial 800-472-2121 or 911.