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Avoid driving during winter storm if possible, ALEA says

If you must drive, ALEA says to use extreme caution and to expect roadways, bridges and overpasses to be icy.

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is preparing to respond to potentially dangerous winter weather across the state.

ALEA encourages Alabamians to avoid driving while the roads are potentially icy and dangerous. If you must drive, ALEA says to use extreme caution and to expect roadways, bridges and overpasses to be icy.

ALEA offered the following tips for driving in hazardous, icy conditions:

  • Do not utilize your vehicle’s cruise control, this creates issues and could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, especially when crossing frozen or iced over bridges. 
  • Monitor local news for information on weather conditions and travel advisories, and check road conditions at https://algotraffic.com/. 
  • Report traffic crashes or other emergencies by calling 911 or using a cell phone to dial *HP (*47) to reach the nearest Highway Patrol post.
  • Remain alert for emergency vehicles and remember to obey Alabama’s “move over” law. 
  • Keep vehicles in good operating condition. Check antifreeze levels use windshield washer solution suitable for freezing weather conditions and keep gas tanks at least half full.
  • Remember weather and roadway conditions can deteriorate quickly. Adapt speeds to existing roadway conditions and be alerted to changing weather and the possibility of icy and slippery roads.
  • Unlike tornadoes or thunderstorms that can pop up in a matter of minutes, winter storms usually provide us with days to prepare. Advisories, watches, and warnings are issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NWS. We encourage everyone to stay connected with their local news stations as well as ALEA’s social media pages for updates on weather and road conditions.
  • During inclement weather, turn on headlights and windshield wipers, and maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles. 
  • Pay attention to bridges and overpasses, which tend to develop hazardous “black ice.” 
  • Keep a blanket, first aid kit, charged cell phone and other emergency supplies in your vehicle.

Here are some tips ALEA gives to prepare for the storm:

  • Create a family plan for winter emergencies and discuss how to stay safe in all conditions.
  • Stay aware by monitoring the local forecast via radio, TV, internet, or smartphone alerts. 
  • Check both your home and your car’s emergency supply kits to assure that everything is in working order. 
  • Update your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to versions that have a battery backup. 

During the storm, ALEA says to do the following:

  • Avoid being on the roads. 
  • Outdoor pets should be brought inside. 
  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If you absolutely must go outside, keep the duration of your trips short. 
  • The most effective way to stay warm is by wearing multiple layers of clothing.
  • Keep an emergency supply kit in your car if you cannot avoid driving. Be extra careful driving and remain aware of your surroundings. 
  • DO NOT use a stove to supply heat for your home. Likewise, do not use outdoor grills, gas/propane heaters or generators indoors. 
  • Do not use generators indoors. Plug appliances directly into your generator. DO NOT plug your generator into your household’s electrical wiring.

Finally, ALEA gave the following advice on what to do following the storm:

  • Make sure roads are safe before driving. While precipitation may have stopped, roads can remain dangerous to drive on for days afterward. 
  • Dress appropriately for the temperature. Continue dressing in layers and avoiding extended exposure. 
  • Stay away from downed lines and DO NOT pull tree limbs off downed power lines or make repairs to Alabama Power equipment. Call 1-800-888-2726 and wait for help.

IN OTHER NEWS: Black ice poses driving risk during winter weather

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