Some important items for travel safely this winter ahead of season's first snowfall

NDDOT
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

BISMARCK, N.D. – Devils Lake will soon begin to have its snowy winter wonderland period as it prepares for its first snowfall of the season, with two days of snow predicted in the first week. 

NDOT maintenance operations supervisor Brandon Beise said winter in the state can be harsh and preparing now will ensure you are ready for any unforeseen winter emergencies.

“It’s important to ‘know before you go’ and check the ND Roads map before traveling this winter," Beise said. 

Car accidents     Snow and ice cause dangerous road conditions -- such as slippery surfaces, reduced visibility, and obscured driving lanes -- that contribute to highway deaths and injury. According to the Federal Highway Administration, every year, more than 1,300 people are killed and another 116,800 are injured in car accidents on snowy, icy, or slushy roads.

The NDDOT provides updated road condition information through the ND Roads mobile app or online at travel.dot.nd.gov. In addition to snow conditions and road closures, the ND Roads mobile app also offers real-time photos of road conditions across North Dakota.

“Road conditions can quickly change so it’s important that motorists slow down, stay alert, turn off cruise control, be patient and don’t crowd the plow,” said Tom Iverson, NDHP major of operations. “Changing conditions can cause motorists to lose control and crash or go off the road and become stuck. It’s important that vehicles are maintained, fuel tanks are adequately filled, and the vehicle has an emergency survival kit.”

Some important items for the emergency kit are jumper cables, flashlight, small shovel, blankets, food and a first aid kit.

Some important items for the emergency kit are:

  • jumper cables
  • flashlight
  • small shovel
  • blankets
  • food
  • a first aid kit

For a complete list of emergency kit items and more winter driving tips visit ndresponse.gov.

Iverson also reminded motorists to not bypass closed roads during severe winter weather, which carries a $250 fine. He said when a road is closed, conditions there are life-threatening and the road may be impassible or blocked. Also, when cleanup operations begin, abandoned vehicles can cause delays in roads being cleared and re-opened.

If motorists do happen to stall during a blizzard or heavy snowstorm, they should stay in their vehicle and run the motor and heater sparingly. They also should open a window a small amount for ventilation and to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Motorists should not try to walk out of a storm, but instead call 9-1-1 to report their situation.

Throughout the winter, snowplow operators will be working to keep road conditions as safe and clear as possible. Motorists should remember to stay back at least 5 car lengths and use extra caution when driving near snowplows.

If motorists do happen to stall during a blizzard or heavy snowstorm, they should stay in their vehicle and run the motor and heater sparingly. They also should open a window a small amount for ventilation and to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Motorists should not try to walk out of a storm, but instead call 9-1-1 to report their situation.

For up-to-date winter weather information, follow the NWS, NDDOT, NDHP and NDResponse on Facebook and Twitter.