Neighborhood Safety: Winter Driving

Written by: Racquel Labadie, GS-12, USAF Privatized Housing Resident Advocate 5th Bomb Wing

Due to Minot’s difficult weather conditions and having the presence of large equipment, safe driving techniques are essential for traveling the winter landscape both on and off-base. In addition to harsh elements, drivers also need to be on the lookout for snow removal equipment.

It is best for drivers to be patient and keep a bit of distance when following the plows. If needing to pass snow equipment do so cautiously and try to make sure the operator can see your vehicle. In housing, main roads are cleared first in priority one, followed by side roads, sidewalks, then driveways.

Patience is key when heading out on winter roads.

Many accidents occur each year simply due to driving too fast for the conditions. The most important thing to remember when driving in winter conditions is to go slow and drive within you and your vehicle’s capabilities.

The Resident Council and Resident Advocate have a number to tips for safe driving and vehicle operation:

1. Have a winter survival kit in your vehicle. These typically include at least battery cables, ice scraper, small shovel, light source, first aid kid, portable charger, water/long lasting food, and additional warm clothing/blankets.

2.Though housing and other intersections are de-iced, they can still be slippery. Slow down before approaching an intersection then scan left, then right, then left again for pedestrians and vehicles on cross streets.

3. If your vehicle becomes stuck, don’t hold down the gas pedal as it will cause the wheels to dig in deeper. Instead, keep the wheel straight and alternate between drive and reverse to “rock” the vehicle free.

4. Avoid packed snow on hills, take curves slowly, and don’t accelerate or decelerate abruptly.

5. Do not ‘warm up’ vehicles in the garage, even with the door open. Carbon monoxide can be pushed back into the home or linger in the garage presenting a dangerous situation to loved ones and pets. Emissions can linger for as long as ten hours.

For more information regarding neighborhood safety initiatives and concerns residents can attend the monthly Resident Council meeting held the first Wednesday of the month at 1800 at the Welcome Center. Previous meeting minutes are posted online, a link can be found on Facebook @minotresidentadvocate.

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