We're still awaiting the arrival of winter weather, but this week is Winter Awareness Week here in Wisconsin.
According to Wisconsin Emergency Management, there have been an average of 18,000 motor vehicle crashes during the winter months (when the roads are covered with ice, snow or slush) in Wisconsin over the last five years.
On average, 50 people are killed and more than 4,900 are hurt in Wisconsin each winter season in those crashes.
Waukesha County Deputy Jennifer Wallschlaeger said some drivers will need to re-acclimate to driving in the snow when winter arrives.
"The first couple snowfalls are tricky, as everybody gets used to what they need to do again," she said.
Wallschlaeger said most of the crashes the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department responds to each winter are caused by drivers traveling too fast in snowy or messy conditions.
If you get in a crash, or slide off the road, Wallschlaeger said it's advisable to stay in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened.
"We don't want anybody hit out on the road while walking around," Wallschlaeger said.
According to Wisconsin Emergency Management, you should avoid leaving your car running when stuck in the snow, as snow can back up into an exhaust pipe and cause Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Run your engine for just 10 minutes an hour, and keep a window cracked open as a precaution.
Wisconsin Emergency Management also recommends keeping a safety kit in your car. Some items to include are:
- First aid kit
- Small shovel and either sand or kitty litter for traction
- Jumper cables
- Non-perishable snacks
- Extra hats, scarves and gloves