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It’s snowing!  All the news channels predict several inches by morning!  As a former teacher, I can tell you fewer words elicit such a thrill as “SNOW DAY” to teachers and students everywhere.  Just the prediction of snow is enough to get students asking, “Do you think we’ll get out early?” “Do you think school will be closed tomorrow?”  Of course, teachers and students love snow days because they can appreciate the winter wonderland from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

Unfortunately, not everyone gets the opportunity to appreciate those snow days.  It just isn’t possible for many people to stay home while it’s snowing and roads conditions are hazardous.  Taking just a few simple precautions can help prepare you for possible situations you may face should you be out on the road in those conditions.

First and foremost, make sure your car is in “winter mode”.  Check your tires for adequate snow traction.  Keep your gas tank full.  Replace your windshield wipers.  Be sure the washer system works and is full of an anti-icing fluid.  Keep a blanket, extra warm clothes and snacks in the car in the event you get stuck.

Before you head out, check the current road conditions.  Weather and road environments change frequently so it is important to stay well informed.  Technology makes staying up-to-date easier than ever before…you can tune into your local radio and TV stations, check the internet, or use your mobile phone.  In Pennsylvania, you can log onto http://www.511pa.com/ or call 511 from your mobile phone for reliable, current traffic and weather information.   Be sure to determine an alternate route, just in case your usual route is blocked, and give yourself extra time to reach your destination.

Okay, so you winterized your car, you checked the local road conditions, grabbed your cell phone (with car charger!) and are now behind the wheel.  Drive slowly (maximum speed limits are meant for ideal conditions).  Keep a safe distance from the car ahead of you.  Be attentive to the actions of the other drivers and make sure the other drivers can see you.  AND ALWAYS REMEMBER TO USE YOUR SAFETY BELT!

Are those snow clouds I see? The sky has that ominous snowy look. I think I may go ask Jim…. “Do you think we’ll get out early?”  “Do you think the office will be closed tomorrow?