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Winter weather demands extra caution on the road

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By Sarah Bennett

Officials encourage drivers headed out into winter weather to take extra caution and to ensure their vehicles are prepared for the cold.

Drivers should check air pressure in their tires and have them inspected to ensure an appropriate amount of tread is available on each wheel, according to a news release from the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

Because of salt and sand used on roadways for snow and ice removal, drivers are advised to have a full tank of windshield fluid. Windshield wipers also should be replaced before snow falls.

According to police, ice and snow should be removed from every light, window and mirror to provide full visibility. Obstructed vision could result in a ticket.

Vehicle owners should have their car batteries checked as battery power drops when temperatures grow colder, according to Kentucky Farm Bureau.

Drivers also should keep gas tanks at least two-thirds full to avoid freezing, which could compromise a vehicle’s operation.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is responsible for 60,000 lane miles for snow and ice removal, according to the agency.

In addition to 1,065 snow plows, the cabinet has access to 415,000 tons of salt, 1.1 million gallons of liquid calcium chloride and 900,000 gallons of salt brine to combat winter weather conditions, according to the release.

Before heading out, the transportation cabinet advises drivers to plan a route in advance and make sure a family member or friend knows of your travel plans.

Drivers should not use cruise control in wet or icy conditions and should give themselves plenty of time to reach their destination, according to the cabinet.

Because snow and ice require more braking distance, drivers should ensure there is extra space between themselves and vehicles ahead, according to the cabinet.

If a vehicle begins to slide, the driver should steer into the skid by easing off the gas and carefully steering into the direction he or she wants to go, officials said.

In the event of an emergency, the Centers for Disease Control advises drivers to pack a “winter emergency kit” that includes blankets, food and water, booster cables, flares, a bag of sand or cat litter for traction, a first-aid kit, plastic bags for sanitation, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio and extra batteries.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.

INFO BOX

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet provides condition reports on major routes. Drivers can access these by calling 511 or going to www.511.ky.gov.

Road condition descriptions are defined as:
Wet pavement:
Road is wet and ice could form as temperatures drop.
Partly covered:
Road is partly covered with snow, slush or ice and markings may be obscured.
Mostly covered:
Road is mostly covered with snow, slush or ice. Markers may be difficult to see because of packed snow and rutting conditions.
Completely covered:
Road is completely covered with snow, slush or ice and markings are obscured.
Impassable:
Conditions are not suitable for travel unless required by an emergency.

Source: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet