MILWAUKEE — From Milwaukee's Cathedral Square to downtown Racine it is not too soon to decorate for the holidays, but it also is not too soon to prepare for potentially dangerous winter situations.
Monday marks the beginning of winter awareness week in Wisconsin.
"It's easy to think that hey we're from Wisconsin. We deal with winter weather but every time we start to see those first snowfalls we'll see the number of accidents increase because people aren't taking it seriously," said David Maack, Racine County Emergency Management coordinator.
"Winter storms are considered deceptive killers. People die indirectly from car accidents from overexertion during snow shoveling and then from being out in the elements," said Maack.
Last winter, the elements got dangerous with the polar vortex forcing schools and businesses to close. Maack recalled the Groundhog Day Blizzard in which he says more than 200 people were stranded on Racine County roads.
Preparing for winter includes getting your home ready by insulating walls, attics, and pipes, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and maintaining heating equipment.
Drivers are advised to keep a winter emergency kit in their cars. The should include food, water, a flashlight and batteries, phone charger, snow shovel, gloves, hats, blankets, and kitty litter or sand to help with traction on icy roads.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports between 2014-2018 an average of 46 people were killed and almost 4,200 injured each in crashes on icy or snow-covered roads. Also, DOT says on average about 18,000 vehicle crashes in Wisconsin are caused by poor winter driving conditions each year.
Drivers already have winter preps on their minds.
Edward Calderon drives a lot for work. He already has a bag with food and winter clothing in his truck. He also keeps a set of chains on hand in case he needs a tow.
"Just gotta prepare yourself for what nature wants to bring you," said Calderon.
"I just got my oil changed and my tires rotated so that's all done," said driver Michelle Anderson.
Racine's Kortendick Ace Hardware says since the Halloween snow people have been stocking up on winter items.
For more information on winter preparedness, click here.