18 weather-related crashes in Newport since December, police offer safety tips

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NEWPORT — Since December 1, 2017, Newport police have responded to 18 weather-related crashes.

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The department says they want to ensure that drivers know how to properly prepare and operate their vehicles in difficult conditions.

“The roads can be dangerous even when they’re covered by only a small amount of snow or ice,” Chief DiSanto said. “As we expect to face more snow, ice and cold weather, it’s important to be extra cautious when driving to protect yourself and those you’re sharing the roads with.”

The department is encouraging residents to familiarize themselves with the following safety tips from the Vermont Department of Public Safety:

AHEAD OF TIME

Make sure brakes, wipers, defrosters, heater and exhaust systems are working properly. Check that antifreeze and windshield washer fluid are ready for cold temperatures. Put good snow tires on all four wheels and be sure they’re properly inflated.

Add winter items to your car’s emergency kit, such as ice scraper/snow brush, shovel, sand, warm clothing and boots, food and water, windshield washer fluid, a flashlight and blankets.

Always keep the gas tank at least half full and remember your cell phone.

Clear all snow and ice from your vehicle.

ON THE ROAD

Be cautious of ice, especially on bridges, ramps and overpasses. Drive slowly, avoid distractions and maintain an increased following distance.

Remember that while four-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles have better traction in snow, no vehicle is immune to ice. Don’t use cruise control and always use headlights on the highway.

Be careful near snowplows and refrain from attempting to pass them.

To avoid skidding, take it slow and don’t make sudden changes in speed or direction. To slow down with control, take your foot off the gas.

When using your brakes, press the pedal with slow, steady pressure. Don’t pump anti-lock brakes or remove your foot from the pedal when they vibrate.

To recover from a skid, steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go, correcting as needed to the right and left until you’ve restored control.

IF YOU’RE STRANDED

Pull off the road, use flashers and call for help if you can. Remain in your vehicle. Don’t leave unless you see shelter nearby and be careful: distances can be deceiving, especially in deep snow.

For warmth, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes each hour. Open a downwind window slightly while it’s running and keep snow clear from the exhaust pipe.

Exercise for body heat, but avoid overdoing it. In extreme cold, wrap up in extra clothing and blankets. In emergency situations, use resources such as road maps, seat covers and floor mats for insulation.

Drink water to avoid dehydration.

Try not to waste battery power. Balance the need for lights, heat, and radio with supply Turn on the inside light at night so rescuers can see you.

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