Mother nature sure does want to remind us that today (December 21) is the first official day of winter and winter is going to hit Iowa like a ton of bricks beginning tonight. If you live under a rock and haven't heard that the weather throughout Iowa from tonight-Friday is going to be blizzard conditions, you can catch up on that by reading our updated story.

Most of Iowa has upgraded to a winter storm warning for Wednesday-Friday. At the time of writing, this is the updated storm warning map in Iowa.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

The timing for this storm is somewhat serendipitous, as we will surely be living in a winter wonderland during Christmas weekend. It's also downright terrible timing. Travel plans have had to be rearranged for some families or worse, canceled. Flights have had to be rescheduled, road trips to visit relatives delayed, and it can make plans this weekend frustrating to try and figure out.

If you have holiday plans and do find yourself having to drive a bit, here's the perfect reminder of how to prepare for driving in blizzard conditions if you cannot rearrange your schedule. I know you're an expert driver and everyone on the road is an idiot but this is the perfect time for a few reminders. Once again, not for you but for all of the other cars on the roadway.

Unsplash - Jakob Rosen
Unsplash - Jakob Rosen

How To Drive Safety On Snow and Ice

I spoke with Black Hawk County Sherrif, Tony Thompson, and the best advice you'll get for any driving you planned on doing for the next two days is...don't drive. If you don't absolutely need to be on the roadways, don't be on the roadways. Driving in whiteout conditions is stressful, time-consuming, and dangerous. As much as we want to visit friends and family for the holidays, you should try and reschedule your plans if possible.

If you absolutely can not reschedule your plans, you should at the very least pack a winter driving kit. According to CNN, AAA recommends your winter driving kit should consist of these essential items:

  • A bag of abrasive material. Whether that be sand, salt, or cat litter, you should have something to help you get yourself unstuck if you unfortunately are in that situation. You should also bring a snow shovel and traction mats.
  • Ice scraper and window washing fluid. You should always have these in your car during the winter months anyway but especially during blizzard conditions
  • Jumper Cables. Another item you should probably just have in your trunk at all times but make sure to throw these in the car before leaving.
  • A flashlight or warning triangles. If you are in the ditch or have to pull over to the side of the road, you'll want to let other motorists know they are approaching a situation where they'll need to slow down
  • A charged cell phone and a charger
  • Boots, gloves, and a blanket.
  • Emergency food supplies like beef jerky or power bars, and sufficient water. If you are stuck, it will be some time before you can get help to get unstuck. Make sure you have some type of food and water with you.

Some other tips you may want to consider are, driving with your headlights low and trying to avoid frequent stops. You should try to avoid stopping completely if possible. According to AAA, "steering around an obstruction in a slow safe manner is often safer than suddenly trying to brake on a slippery surface."

Keep as much distance between you and other cars as possible. Normally, you want about 4 seconds between you and the car ahead of you when you're traveling down the highway. In the conditions expected over the next few days, you'll want closer to 10 seconds of space between you and the car ahead of you.

Be safe during these next few days and don't be in a hurry to get anywhere. Even if you're just heading home from work or out to eat, give yourself some time to get there. If you do have holiday plans, you should try and rearrange them if you can.

If you don't have any travel plans, all you have to worry about now is how many times you'll need to shovel or snow blow the driveway!

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