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Are you prepared for winter travel?

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MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO (KPLR) – While it may not officially be winter, the National Weather Service reminds us to go ahead and prepare for what Mother Nature may bring, especially on the roads.

That's why awareness is being raised in Missouri today for Winter Weather Preparedness Day while Winter Preparedness Week is ongoing in Illinois. The National Weather Service of St. Louis advises drivers to make sure car tires are good, heat is working, and an emergency kit is packed should you be stranded. Items to pack include an extra blanket, non perishable foods like candy bars, a small shovel, and bright-colored handkerchief to tie on car antenna until help arrives.

The Weather Service also reminds drivers to slow down so that stopping is easier and safer. The winter season officially begins December 21.

Here are some winter weather travel tips:

Equip Your Vehicle With:

A flashlight with extra batteries
A first-aid kit
Necessary medications
Blankets and/or sleeping bags
Extra mittens or gloves, socks, a warm cap and rain gear
A small sack of sand to use for traction under your wheels
A small shovel
Booster cables
Small tools - pliers, wrench, screwdriver
A brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
Nonperishable foods
Bottled water
During the Trip

If possible, postpone your travel until roads have been plowed, treated, and cleared. You don't want to slide off the road, and we don't want to plow around disabled vehicles.

Slow down and adjust your speed to the conditions.

Give snowplows plenty of room, and don't pass them.

Always wear your seat belt.

Remember that driving is most dangerous when temperatures are near 32 degrees.

Watch for other vehicles having problems with road conditions.

Keep mirrors, windows and lights clean; keep your lights on.

Don't pass other vehicles on or near bridges.

Keep your fuel tank at least half full.

If you don't feel comfortable driving, pull off of the highway and park at the first safe place.

If You're Trapped in Your Car

Stay in the vehicle. Don't leave to search for help. It's easy to become disoriented and lost in blowing and drifting snow.

Display a trouble sign. Hang a brightly colored cloth on the antenna.

Run the engine for about 10 minutes each hour. Run the heater and turn on the dome light only when the vehicle is running.

Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and open a window slightly for ventilation.

Clap hands and move your arms and legs occasionally. Don't stay in one position for too long.

If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.

Huddle together for warmth.

Use newspapers, maps and even car mats for added insulation.

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