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Tips for winter driving

Along with inches upon inches of snow and cold temperatures, winters also bring hazardous road conditions. By ensuring your vehicle is equipped and with the right knowledge, you can focus on staying safe this winter. The North Dakota Department of Transportation offers a few tips for the upcoming months.

1. Always check road conditions before you travel. The NDDOT offers a Travel Information Map at, or by calling 511. Be sure to have a full fuel tank before you travel and let someone know when you depart, your route and your expected arrival time.

2. Don't forget to remove snow from your headlights. Increasing your visibility to other motorists and snowplow operators is critical. Be sure to keep your lights on at all times to stay visible.

3. Roads are often difficult to access. Get a feel of the road by trying your brakes while driving slowly and adjusting your speed to see how much traction you have. Always keep a fair distance between vehicles and slow down. Cruise control should never be used on icy or wet roadways, and studded snow tires can be used from Oct. 15 to April 15.

4. Passing trucks may greatly reduce visibility as they create snow fog. Keep your eye out for curves in the road and slow down when conditions become hazardous. Frost and ice tend to form quicker on bridges and shaded spots than the rest of the roadway.

5. When stopping on ice, pump the brakes. Slamming on your brakes may lock wheels, causing the tires to skid. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply firm and continuous pressure. If you pump anti-lock brakes, it will turn the system on and off and reduce effectiveness.

6. Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle that includes warm clothing, footwear, a shovel and high-energy food. Stay with your vehicle if it becomes stuck in a snowstorm and open the windows slightly. The heater should only run for short periods of time to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.