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Winter Awareness Week

It is time to face the inescapable truth...winter is coming to Wisconsin. As a result, we all need to brush up on our winter driving skills and cold weather preparedness.

Next Monday through Friday (Nov. 14-18) has been declared Winter Awareness Week in Wisconsin. The annual campaign, sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Wisconsin DOT, and the National Weather Service, reminds us now is the time to get ready before the snow and cold hit.

Major General Don Dunbar, Adjutant General and Wisconsin’s Homeland Security Advisor, advises that you have an emergency supply kit in your vehicle. He said if you slide off the road and are stranded during a storm, food and other items in your kit could help keep you and your family safe until emergency help arrives. The emergency vehicle kit should contain items such as flashlight, first aid kit, booster cables, emergency flares, water and snack food along with extra gloves, hats, scarves and blankets. In addition, make sure you have a shovel and a bag of sand or kitty litter to help provide traction if you get stuck.

Every winter in Wisconsin, officials say approximately 50 people are killed and more than 4,900 are injured in crashes on icy or snow-covered roads. Many of those crashes are caused by driving too fast in winter conditions. David Pabst, director of the DOT's Bureau of Transportation Safety said that the posted speed limit is based on dry pavement and good driving conditions. But the posted limit may be too fast for conditions when a road is snow covered and slippery. Pabst added that during severe winter storms, the safest decision is to not drive until conditions improve. Law enforcement officers frequently respond to vehicles in the ditch and chain-reaction crashes when motorists should not have attempted to travel. Slowed or stalled traffic on slippery roads also delays tow trucks and snowplows, which are trying to get roads cleared, as well as emergency responders.