Be Prepared! Here’s Some Safe Driving Tips for Winter Travel in Kentucky
When there's snow or ice, we know that we can count on crews to work around the clock to clear roads for our safety. We just have to do our part, so the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is offering some valuable tips to help us prepare for inclement weather. Find out what you need to know to ensure a safe trip.
Although Kentucky weather is nothing like the weather I endured when living in Northern Michigan, it can still get bad here. Especially on city or county roads and on highways for those that have to travel. One of the few accidents that I've had in my life, involved a snowplow truck on the highway. It was stopped halfway on the side of the road, with no flashing lights, in the middle of a "whiteout". I clipped the back end of the truck and damaged the front of my car. Luckily, I was going slow enough to see it at the last minute or it could have been worse. White knuckle driving on "black ice" was a nightmare. Yes, winters are brutal in Michigan and luckily we don't get weather like that in Kentucky. But, when we do, we're lucky to have great crews out there to keep the roads safe.
Kentucky Road Crews Ready for Inclement Weather
Salt and snow plow crews across Kentucky are trained, prepared, and ready for winter weather on state routes. There's a fleet of more than 1,365 state-owned and contracted plow trucks on standby to work through the night and into the morning when needed. Crews have a tough job and often don't get the recognition that they deserve, but we can help by being cautious on the roads where they're working.
“Within the past 12 months we endured our first snow and ice season in the midst of a health pandemic, and tackled back-to-back severe winter events this year that blanketed roads with sheets of ice and debris,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “While the severity and frequency of weather events stand to be unknown, we are doing our best with the resources we have to keep critical state routes passable so citizens and commerce can keep moving.”
KYTC maintains most roads, streets, and bridges that are part of the State Highway System. Examples include interstates, parkways, and U.S. route designations.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Traveling Tips
Winter storms have the potential to derail your travel plans, so it's important to be prepared. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet offered these important tips to keep you and your family safe while traveling.
• Travel only as necessary during major snow events.
• Stock vehicles with ice scrapers, jumper cables, blankets, a flashlight, cell phone charger, non-perishable snacks, and a first aid kit should you get stranded on the road.
• Winterize vehicles. Have your car battery, tire pressure, and brakes checked. Make sure your heater, defroster, headlights, and windshield wipers are working properly.
• When snow and/or ice are on roadways, drive slowly no matter what type of vehicle you’re in. It takes more time and distance to stop your vehicle in poor weather conditions, so brake early and slowly.
• Pay attention to weather advisories and allow more time to travel for routine commutes.
• Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shaded areas. These are all candidates for developing black ice—a thin coating of clear ice that can form on the pavement surface that may be difficult to see.
• Maintain a safe distance from snowplows and other heavy highway equipment and do not pass snowplows on the shoulder.
• Know before you go. Download the free WAZE app or visit goky.ky.gov to check traffic conditions before you travel. The map also offers access to select traffic cameras on interstates and parkways.
• Eliminate distractions while driving (e.g. using phone and eating).
Checking your vehicle in preparation for winter driving will give you peace of mind when you hit the road. Especially during holiday travel to visit family and friends. Be safe!