Five Helpful Tips to Navigate First Snowfall

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- It’s that time of year again, the first snow fall is upon us. The metro area is expected to see around six inches of snow Friday night.

Last November, the Iowa State Patrol reported almost 700 accidents. They attribute the large number of accidents because of drivers’ inability to adjust to the first snowfall. Once drivers got accustomed to driving in the conditions, the number of accidents dropped to 359 in December.

We know that driving in that first snow storm can be tricky. We tracked down Sgt. Nate Ludwig from the Iowa State Patrol to give us a few tips on how to navigate the roads safely.

What are the essential items you should have in your car this winter?

“Having a car charger for your phone is probably the most essential item. 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,” said Sgt. Ludwig.

What are a couple driving tips you’d recommend using when the snow comes?

“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.

Is there anything drivers can do before they head out on the roads to stay safe?

“You can plan ahead. Take a look at the Iowa511 website and see which route is best. Let your friends and family know the route of your destination as well,” said Sgt. Ludwig.

If a driver gets into an accident, who should they call?

“Call 911 and give them your location. It’s always good to be as specific as possible to dispatchers as far as injuries and damage,” said Sgt. Ludwig.

Here are three more resources you can use before you drive this weekend:

Iowa DOT Winter Driving

Iowa 511 Road Conditions

City of Des Moines Snow Removal Tracker