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Current Articles


Winter Driving Tips

Winter is a beautiful time of the year, especially when a fresh layer of new snow covers everything.

Winter can also be a very dangerous time of the year. If you plan on traveling during the winter, it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. Getting stranded during a winter storm can be a matter of life and death.
Simply following a few simple driving habits like planning ahead, driving at a safe and legal speed, driving alert and sober and buckling up could insure that you make it to your destination safely.

If you must use your car during a storm:

Be courteous to those awaiting your arrival:

 

Article from WI DOT 

 

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Black Ice Tips

How To Handle Black Ice

By far, the most dangerous driving condition is driving on black ice, otherwise known as glare ice. You've probably heard one of these terms used before, but what exactly is this type of ice and why is it so dangerous?

Simply put, black ice is a thin layer of frozen water which contains very few air bubbles. The lack of bubbles in the ice causes it to be completely transparent. Since the ice is transparent, it simply takes on the same color as the surface it's attached to. So if you're on black pavement, it will simply look like the asphalt. The only real visual warning you'll have is that the roadway will have a wet appearance. The same is true for any road surface, including light colored roadways such as concrete or even red brick roads. It doesn't matter if the surface is black, white, orange, green, or any other color. This kind of ice is almost invisible to the naked eye on any surface.
It forms in a few different ways. The most common way is when the outside air temperature is warmer than the roadway surface. Moisture is in liquid form, but immediately freezes when it comes into contact with the roadway surface.

A quick drop in temperatures can also cause you to unknowingly drive on ice. Water on the roadway can quickly freeze with a sudden drop in temperatures, especially on untreated roadways or across bridges and overpasses. One minute you may be driving on a wet surface, then suddenly the next minute you're on black ice!

As seen in the photo to the right, this glare ice was caused by blowing snow drifting onto the roadway. Snowplows dropping salt melted the snow, but then the melted snow refroze onto the road surface. This shows that even during a bright and sunny day, ice is still a risk!

How to detect black ice
Unfortunately, black ice is very hard to detect, especially when there is no sunlight illuminating the surface of the road which can sometimes create a glare. At night, it is nearly impossible to see even with the best headlights on the market. Luckily, there are some other warning signs you can look for.
Dangerous temperature ranges

If you live in a climate where temperatures reach below freezing, you should always have a temperature gauge in your vehicle. If your car doesn't have one, you can buy them for relatively cheap at retail stores and some car washes.

Knowing the exact temperature outside is the best way to know if icing is occurring or could possibly occur. When the temperature starts getting close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or zero degrees Celsius, you should start getting concerned. While treated roadways shouldn't freeze up as quickly, there will still be patches of frozen surfaces to be concerned with. Also be on the lookout for bridges, overpasses, lightly traveled roadways, and untreated road surfaces. These areas can become extremely hazardous very quickly. You should also use special caution crossing railroad tracks, driving through construction zones, and when changing from one roadway surface to another (such as from concrete to asphalt).

Look for water spray
If roadway icing is occurring, you will see very little if any water spray coming from the tires of your vehicle or other vehicles around you, even when the roadway appears to be wet. This is extremely dangerous as you are almost certainly driving on ice!!!

Feel your outside mirrors
Here's a trick I learned during my trucking days. If freezing conditions exist, ice will begin forming on the leading edge of your side mirrors. Open your window and run your finger over the front surface of your driver’s side mirror (and/or have a passenger check on the passenger side mirror). If ice is forming on either mirror that means it's cold enough for water to freeze on the roadway.

What to do while driving on ice
If you discover that you're driving on ice, there is one thing you must do before anything else - remain totally calm Do NOT hit the brakes and don't make any sudden movements with the steering wheel, even if you feel yourself sliding. The best thing to do is to slowly take your foot off the accelerator. Slow down as much as you can without putting yourself in danger of being rear-ended. Try to find a safe and secure location to park your vehicle, such as a parking lot. It is not recommended that you stop on the roadway, including the shoulder. The shoulder of the road can be extremely dangerous!

Make sure all driving inputs are done in slow motion. No sudden movements. Unlike with snow where you can safely navigate through in most cases, when driving on ice, you should find a safe location to park as soon as possible. Ice is nothing to take a chance with. Yes, it's that dangerous!

Beware of ice on bridges and overpasses
We often see those warning signs about ice forming on bridges before the roadway, but since we see them so frequently, we often forget that ice really DOES form faster on bridges and overpasses. This is especially true for black ice. Whether the roadway has been treated or not, black ice can form (or reform) extremely quickly. When driving at or below freezing temperatures, be extremely cautious on bridges and overpasses, especially if they appear to be wet. The wet looking surface may actually be ice.

 

Article by Drive Safely

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Ice Fishing Safety

Although these tips are practical and could be life-saving, common sense is your first avenue of defense.  Don’t drive any vehicle out on the ice when it has been 40 degrees or warmer for more than 2 days! 

Common sense is the greatest ally in preventing ice related accidents, and that includes checking ice conditions and preparing oneself before venturing out. Five minutes of checking ice from shore, talking to local authorities or bait shops, and systematic checks while going out on the ice can make the difference between an enjoyable winter experience and a tragedy, he says.

 

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Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The Sheriff’s Office  makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances.