WI State Patrol law of the month focuses on safe winter travel - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

WI State Patrol law of the month focuses on safe winter travel

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Winter travel in Wisconsin can be challenging and stressful at times, but following some basic guidelines will help ensure you reach your destination safely and enhance safety for all travelers.

The Wisconsin State Patrol law of the month for February highlights state laws and travel tips pertaining to safe winter travel. During severe winter storms, the best advice is to simply stay off the roads if possible and wait for conditions to improve, said Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Nick Wanink of the Northwest Region. If you must travel, allow extra time and following distance, make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up, then go slow.

The DOT adds the most common cause of winter crashes and slide-offs is drivers traveling too fast for conditions. State law (346.57) requires drivers to operate at speeds that are reasonable and prudent to maintain safe control of a motor vehicle at all times. A violation for traveling too fast for conditions can result in a fine of $213.

Other safe winter travel tips from the DOT:

  • Before heading out, let others know about your planned route and expected arrival time.
  • Fully charge your cell phone. It may be needed if you become stranded or involved in a crash.
  • Clear snow and ice from your vehicles roof, hood, windows, front and rear lights.
  • Turning on your vehicles low-beam headlights helps you see whats ahead, and helps others see you. State law (340.01 (23) requires drivers to turn on their vehicles low-beam headlights any time that weather or other conditions limit visibility to 500 feet or less.
  • Don't use cruise control.
  • Avoid sudden braking or steering. If you have a four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle, don't be overconfident. All vehicles require additional time and distance to stop in slippery conditions.
  • If your vehicle breaks down, or you slide off the road, its generally safest to stay buckled up inside your vehicle and wait for help. Getting out of your vehicle and walking around a highway is always dangerous, but especially when roads are slippery. 
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