Dangerous cold, more snow to impact driving next week

Release date: January 25, 2019

Statewide forecasts indicate additional snow accumulations beginning Sunday night, especially in southwest Wisconsin, followed by dangerously cold wind chills. Monday morning commuters are reminded to monitor winter road conditions and allow more time for travel. WisDOT’s 511wi.gov site shows winter road conditions for major roadways, weather alerts, and travel services links.

With a deep freeze forecasted to impact Wisconsin this week, plunging temperatures could impact salt effectiveness, vehicle performance and traveler safety. Salt takes longer to melt ice and roads refreeze faster as temps drop.

Preparation important before travel in inclement weather

WisDOT urges motorists to monitor forecasts closely, plan for possible travel impacts (especially for the Monday morning commute) and ensure their vehicle is prepared for the journey. Among WisDOT's winter driving tips, here are recommendations before travel in bitter cold weather:

  • Know the current road conditions, check 511wi.gov for the latest updates
  • Keep the vehicle's gas tank full
  • Have an emergency kit
  • Have extra layers of winter clothing
  • Inform others about your route and expected travel time
  • Clear snow and ice from vehicles prior to traveling

If you become stranded, Wisconsin State Patrol offers these tips:

  • Stay calm, stay buckled. It's generally safest to stay buckled up inside your vehicle. Along with protecting you from the elements, your vehicle offers protection if other vehicles slide out of control. Getting out of your vehicle and walking near a highway is dangerous any time of year.
  • If possible, call 911 on your cell phone. Be ready to describe your location and situation. Follow any instructions. You may be told to stay where you are until help arrives.
  • Resist the urge to get out of your vehicle and shovel or push your vehicle free. Overexertion can greatly complicate your situation, and being outside your vehicle exposes you to dangers.
  • If necessary to stay warm, run your vehicle's engine for brief periods (make sure the exhaust system is working properly and not blocked by snow). Using portable heaters inside vehicles or other enclosed spaces can be dangerous.
  • Keeping your dome light on during low-light conditions can make it easier for rescue crews to find you.