Caution out for traffic this Thanksgiving

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

EAST MOLINE (11-25-09) -- Due to the mild weather our area has experienced over the past month, the first snowfall of the season within the next 48 hours may seem surreal. Statistically today is the most traveled holiday of the year. Add these two factors together, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Every year, motorist must re-adjust their driving habits to compensate for winter driving. Some driving tips for in-climate weather include: 1) only use cruise control on dry surfaces, 2) if you lose traction gradually slow down, do not slam on the brakes, 3) use caution when driving on bridges and ramps, frost forms on these surfaces first, 4) be careful when approaching shaded areas, this is the last place for ice and snow to melt. Our basic driving tips are the same all year: DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE, SLOW DOWN, and ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEATBELT.

    Many also neglect to prepare their vehicle for the season. Check the tread on your tires. Check the windshield wipers for cracks and wear, and fill your windshield fluid reservoir. Keep your gas tank at least half full to prevent water build up that can freeze the line and to ensure you have enough gas for heat if you are stranded. Check your lights and drive with them on during daylight hours in fog or precipitation.

    Additional equipment you should put in your vehicle: tools (jack, lug wrench), bottled water, non perishable food,  extra warm clothes, boots, hats and gloves, ice scraper, flash light with fresh batteries, first aid kit, jumper cables, blanket/sleeping bag(s), a bright colored cloth to tie on your antennae as a flag if you are stranded and an old cell phone with car charger (a deactivated phone will active when "911" is dialed).

    Please plan your trips with caution and have a safe winter season.