7 tips for driving in a Minnesota blizzard

Cars head through a winter storm in Rochester
Lifelong Minnesotan? Newbie? Doesn't matter, this is a bad storm. Here's how to be safe behind the wheel.
Alex Kolyer for MPR News file

Before you head out to brave this winter's first significant snowfall, take a moment or two to brush up on safe driving. That goes for people new to the state and Minnesota lifers.

1. Don't drive. This one's pretty simple — avoid traveling unless it's absolutely necessary.

2. Go slow, you won't regret it. One Reddit user had this advice for a new Minnesotan, courtesy of their father: "Better to be going slow and wish you were going fast, then to be going fast and wish you'd have gone slow."

3. Give yourself plenty of room to stop. Seriously, no matter what you drive, snowstorms will increase your stopping distance — possibly more than you'd realize before it's too late. And it goes without saying, no tailgating.

4. Skip the cruise control. If your car skids on a slippery road, cruise control will still make your car accelerate because it's trying to maintain a constant speed. That'd take away your control in a snowy mess. And being out of control, is, well, being out of control. Nobody likes that on a day like today.

5. Clean your windows and mirrors thoroughly. Visibility is going to be bad enough, so do yourself a favor and clear off every bit of glass on your car.

6. Four-wheel drive isn't a miracle worker. It'll help you get going through slush, but four-wheel drive doesn't help braking or steering control.

7. Turn on your headlights. Honestly, you want everyone to see you coming. Take our word for it.

And for next time: Make sure your vehicle is ready. Ample antifreeze, a full tank of gas and a snow brush are in-car staples. It's good to have your car stocked with what you'll need in case you get stranded.

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