Tips to Help You Drive in Iowa Winters

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The winter of brought historical depths of snowfall to the state of Iowa. Road conditions are considerably worse than during many Iowa winters. Drivers must be mindful and adjust their driving skills.

Most importantly, Iowa roadsides have snow piles stacked in almost unbelievable heights. Because much of Iowa is rural and is wide open to wintry winds and blowing snow, roads become hazardous very quickly.

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Iowa roadside is full of snow – image by globegazette.com

Black ice is a scary and possibly fatal concern. Black ice is caused from snow blowing across the roadways, and because it isn’t visible, surprises drivers. When driving in open country with snow on the ground and blowing wind, be prepared. Pump your brakes easily to check if the roads are slick.

Sunshine can melt snow during the day. As temperatures drop during during the approach of night, melted snow refreezes. Roads can quickly become very slick. Drivers must be acutely aware of this and adjust speed accordingly.

ice on road
Black ice is a scary – image by tyreplex.com

Speed is one of the greatest hazards of driving on Iowa roads in the winter. The following tips may help you understand Iowa driving conditions and remind you to slow down.

First of all, your vehicle will more quickly spin out of control if you hit ice. Secondly, a driver coming over a hill and seeing an accident or stopped vehicle ahead will unlikely be able to stop. They may also be involved in an accident . Thirdly, city driving in Iowa also requires slowing down and being prepared to stop.

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Driving in Iowa also requires slowing down – image by theveggiegal.com

Slowly enter intersections so your vehicle doesn’t slide through. Be prepared if another driver is unable to stop or if they suddenly slow down to make a turn.

Snow is piled high at intersections of rural areas, cities and small towns of Iowa. Because of the blind intersections, sometimes drivers must pull out almost onto the road before they can tell if a vehicle is approaching. If either driver is not paying attention, an accident is likely to happen.

snow accidents
An accident – image by safer-america.com

Beware of distractions.

Wild animals are looking for food. In a second a deer or other animal can run in front of your car. Other animals such a wild turkeys and pheasants are feeding closer to the roadways and may wander across. Try not to turn your steering wheel quickly to avoid them as your car could easily spin out of control.

Wild Turkeys getting off Hwy  near Dorset Ontario
Be careful with wild animals – image by frametoframe.ca

If you must notify someone of your concern, please stop before texting or calling on your cell phone. This is especially important while driving in poor weather conditions.

Do keep your cell phone handy and be sure it is charged. If you are involved in an accident, authorities usually can tell your location and possibly be able to send you help. Be aware of Iowa’s no tow rule during inclement weather. Tow trucks cannot pull vehicles out of ditches until weather improves.

texting while driving
Do not use phone while driving – image by carguide.com.au

Iowa ditches are full of snow. When new snowfall blows across the road it is often difficult to tell the actual road location. Drivers may think they’re headed down the middle of their lane. But if you do veer into the ditch, you will likely be stuck or involved in a more serious type of accident.

If you are aware of poor visibility and terrible conditions ahead, try to pull off the road for awhile. Staying at a roadside stop or farm house is better that what may happen if you continue.

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Pulling off the road for awhile is safer – image by fmins.com

However, five minutes or five miles can make a total change in weather and road conditions. If you are taken by surprise, immediately slow down. Try not to let yourself get too stressed as you must be alert to be able to deal with upcoming conditions.

Move your eyes back and forth, don’t just stare ahead. Don’t “white knuckle” or squeeze the steering wheel as that can slow reaction time.

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If you are taken by surprise, immediately slow down – image by pinterest.com

If you’re traveling on gravel roads, go slowly and look out ahead. Often this year, the path through the center of the road is very small because of piled snow on the sides. Try to get over to the side as much as possible when going over hills. This will help to prevent head-on collisions.

Some parts of Iowa are very hilly and curvy.

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Some parts of Iowa are very hilly and curvy – image by pinterest.com

Drivers should check tires and be sure their car can safely travel inclines. This will prevent your car from stalling as well as ensuring others behind you are able to proceed.

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