American Red Cross offers winter weather driving tips

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ILLINOIS - The American Red Cross is offering tips about how to drive safely during winter weather, and what to do if you become stuck in your vehicle.

Officials say you should consider keeping a window scraper, kitty litter or sand in case you get stuck, extra clothes, and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk.  A Disaster Supplies Kit consists of water, a first-aid kit, high-protein snacks, a small battery-operated radio, flashlight, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, blankets, and extra prescription medications.

If you need to travel in winter weather, officials say you should check the weather forecast, and fill your vehicle's gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.  Officials also recommend that you tell someone where you're going, your route, and when you expect to arrive at your destination.  

Other tips American Red Cross officials are offering include:

- Don't use cruise control while driving through winter weather, and don't follow other vehicles too closely, as sudden stops are difficult on snowy roads.

- Make sure all passengers have their seat belts on, and give your full attention to the road.  Ignore potential distractions, such as cell phones.

- Be aware that overpasses, ramps, and bridges freeze before roadways.

- Don't pass snow plows

- If you become stuck, to help conserve gas, do not run your engine and heater constantly.  Also, avoid using lights or the radio, in order to help prevent the battery from draining completely.

- If at all possible, if conditions become too bad, move your vehicle off the roadway, and stay with it.  If you must exit the vehicle, use the side that's facing away from traffic.
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