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Preparation is Key to Safe Winter Travel in Wisconsin

December 27, 2011

MADISON, Wisc. - It's been one of the mildest Decembers in decades, but reviving Wisconsin-style winter driving skills will soon be necessary. Pam Moen, spokeswoman for Triple-A, the American Automobile Association, says now is the time to make sure batteries and tires are ready for the wintry weather ahead.

"Those are probably the two things that get people in the most trouble during the winter weather. Also make sure that you have all of your lights checked out and that they're working properly, and that you've got a good set of windshield wipers."

Moen warns Wisconsinites not to be lax in preparing a winter survival kit for their vehicles.

"Things like an ice scraper; some traction material, whether it's sand, salt, or cat litter; a snow shovel, a flashlight and some basic tools, and certainly, some warm clothing and blankets in case you would get stranded."

Moen says some water, non-perishable food, and cell phone and charger are other essentials for longer road trips this winter.

Another important tip, according to Moen, is to pay attention to the weather forecast and road conditions before leaving on a trip.

"Every year, there are people who die, right here in the state, because they become stranded in extreme winter conditions and don't have the proper supplies, or don't know what to do to keep themselves safe until help can get to them."

And with the changes in Wisconsin's car insurance laws that took effect in November, it's also a good idea to review your coverage before you get into a fender-bender. The Wisconsin Association for Justice offers a free brochure that explains the changes. It's online at under the tab "Consumer Resources."

You can call 511 to get road conditions across the state, or get the information online at

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI