TOPEKA -- Weather forecasters say that because of the La Nina weather system, this winter is going to be a mixture of unseasonably warm and very bitter days. This can mean that winter weather may catch you unprepared.
To help you stay safe while you're traveling this winter, the Kansas Turnpike Authority urges you to prepare your vehicle and yourself before hitting the road. Remember to:
* Pack your emergency kit in case you get stranded. Include an ice scraper, small shovel, some gravel for traction, a blanket, first aid kit, and a flashlight.
* Clear the snow and ice from all your lights and windows, even your hood and roof before driving.
* And give snow plows and other maintenance vehicles plenty of distance and clearance on the road. Do not pass snow plows. They're clearing the path for you, so stay behind them to enjoy a cleaner traffic lane.
* Drive at a speed that will allow you to safely stop if you need to apply your brakes quickly. Turn off your cruise control, don't use it in these conditions.
* Turn your headlights on to allow other drivers to easily see you. Kansas law says if your windshield wipers are in continuous use, you must also have your headlights on.
* If you're driving a vehicle with four-wheel drive, remember that it helps you go, but 4WD won't help you stop.
* Be aware of your surroundings. If you're in an accident and need help,
knowing what road you're on, what milepost you're closest to, or some type of easily identifiable landmark can help emergency responders find you.
* Always keep your gas tank filled.
And remember that 511 is always available to call for roadway conditions prior to the start of your trip. Stay safe!