Our Opinion: Adjust winter driving to weather conditions

Central Missouri on Thursday received its first taste of winter precipitation for the season.

Snow accumulation was negligible, but the flurries provided a warning to plan for inclement weather.

Recommendations from the Missouri Highway Patrol generally fall into three categories: visibility, caution and winterization.

Reduced visibility is a pronounced problem in winter. How often have you witnessed a motorist peering through a small spot cleared on the windshield of a vehicle otherwise covered with ice or snow?

Steer clear of those impatient risk-takers whenever possible.

Similarly, how frequently have you endured being tailgated while driving on slick roads? The patrol reminds motorists stopping on “snow-covered or icy roads is next to impossible.”

Depending on road conditions, a safe speed may be below the posted speed limit. Plan ahead to allow for extra driving time to reach a destination.

Failure to exercise the highest degree of care is both unlawful and unsafe.

Finally, just as you oufit yourself with patience, courtesy and caution, be sure your vehicle also is prepared for winter travel.

Winterizing a vehicle includes checking the battery, heater, defroster, lights, hoses, belts, brakes, oil, tires, wipers and fluid levels. Recommended equipment to carry in a vehicle includes an ice scraper, tire chains, battery booster cables, blankets, flashlight and a bag of sand in the trunk.

Despite best efforts, emergencies will occur. If you see a stranded vehicle or become stranded, contact the patrol’s emergency number, 1-800-525-5555, or dial *55 on a cellular phone.

The patrol recommendations are summed up in its reminder: “Winter weather calls for drivers to make adjustments!”

Adjust accordingly.

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