State Patrol Urging Drivers to Use Extra Caution During Holiday Travel

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- One of the busiest travel weekends if the year is upon us and the Iowa State Patrol is urging drivers to be prepared.

The two talking points they are pushing: winter prep packs and cautious driving.

Over the last seven years there have been, on average, 203 accidents during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“People need to pay special attention to the weather, it’s the major contributor to accidents,” said Sgt. Nathan Ludwig.

Sgt. Ludwig goes on to say that if people are aware that the conditions are going to be bad that’s the first step in being safe.

Outside of using caution, Sgt. Ludwig is asking Iowa drivers to have a winter emergency kit packed.

“Having a car charger for your phone is probably the most essential item,” said Sgt. Ludwig. “Extra clothing, bottled water and some sort of a power or energy bar would be beneficial as well. One item of lighter or smaller vehicles is a sand tube or bag of kitty litter for weight in the trunk. Serves another purpose as traction for tires when you become disabled in the ditch.”

Other prep you can do before you head out is checking your tires.

“Make sure your vehicle has good tread on the tires. Keeping a light foot on the pedal and never use your cruise control during the winter months,” said Sgt. Ludwig.