Snow and cold weather can make driving conditions more difficult and the first few snowfalls of the year often catch motorists unprepared.

Most of Minnesota now has at least a dusting, if not multiple inches, of snow. The snow, coupled with the high winds and cold weather that is coming through, can be a recipe for disaster on the roadways because together they create risky driving situations including low visibility, drifting and blowing snow, and slick roads. AAA Minnesota-Iowa is advising motorists to allow extra time to get to a travel destination, monitor weather conditions, and follow advice from authorities. If it is not safe and you don’t have to travel, don’t drive.

AAA also recommends motorists keep emergency supplies in the vehicle, including a cell phone, boots, gloves, blanket, an alternate heat source, shovel, and first aid kit. If stranded, stay with the vehicle. If the engine starts, run it only long enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. It’s also advised to keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up and to provide extra fuel for running the engine if stranded.

If you encounter an emergency vehicle with flashing lights along the road, slow down well in advance and carefully move over one lane, if available. Slipper roads make for dangerous conditions for those helping other motorists on the roadside.