Officer shares road safety tips ahead of winter storm


(NewsNation) — A massive winter storm is threatening millions of people this holiday season, creating hazardous holiday travel and upending families’ holiday plans.

Despite forecasters’ warnings of heavy snow, freezing rain and flooding, nearly 102 million Americans will drive to their holiday destinations, according to AAA. Plus, meteorologists are anticipating near-whiteout conditions that could make driving even more treacherous.

Michigan State Police Assistant Post Commander Mark Giannunzio joined NewsNation Live to share some tips on how to stay safe on the road during severe winter weather conditions and how best to prepare.

“Our troopers are ready for this,” Giannunzio said. They prepare for this quite often, but he said the holidays approaching make the situation a little more interesting.

The biggest mistake a driver can make is not preparing well enough, he said.

“We have to get our vehicles in top maintenance for this coming weekend. And we have to allow that extra time to get to our destinations,” Giannunzio said. “And that’s the biggest thing that we see is people try to push it a little bit too much in these whiteout conditions.”

Giannunzio shared some safety tips for drivers caught in a snowstorm. He said drivers should avoid tailgating other cars and give themselves some extra space in case of emergency stops. He suggests about 10 car lengths of space between every car on the road.

“I would say you should have extra blankets stuffed to keep you warm. Because if you do find yourself where you’re stranded on the side of the road, it might be a while before someone gets to you. You should have food, water, and some snacks stuff to keep you warm. You should have a shovel just in case you get stuck — kitty litter, sand — that sometimes can help you get unstuck, jumper cables, stuff like that. Anything that can help you get out of those emergency situations,” he said.

If there are any accidents, or drivers slide off the road and into a ditch, Giannunzio said to immediately dial 911, even if it might take a minute for the emergency services to get to them.

NewsNation has compiled a list of tips from trusted officials on how best to your vehicle for severe winter weather.

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