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Winter weather in Minnesota puts pedestrians, motorists in danger

With the first snowfall of the season behind us, Minnesotans are well aware that winter weather has arrived. But besides bundling up to stay warm, there are many other concerns that come up during the winter months. As many residents know, the winter can be a particularly dangerous time for motorists. Cold, windy weather combined with snow and ice can make the roads treacherous.

And unlike in other parts of the country, pedestrians and bicyclists still populate Minnesota roads in the winter, no matter how bad the weather gets. This may be a good time to remind people about some winter driving habits that can help them avoid causing a serious car or pedestrian accident

Stay focused. Road conditions can change in the blink of an eye during the winter. Drivers who are distracted may not realize that traffic has stopped or an icy patch of road is just ahead. They also may not see that a car is stalled and people are standing on the side of the road or that an emergency vehicle is responding to a nearby accident.

Approach intersections with caution. Intersections can be very dangerous in the winter because of how slippery the roads can be. There are still traffic and pedestrian signals that should keep us safe, but a driver who plows through an intersection is more likely to hurt someone because he or she could lose control of the car on a slick road.

Keep an eye out for people crossing the roads or walking in the street. When roads are poorly plowed or shoveled, pedestrians may end up having to walk on the road or close to the street. If a driver is not looking out for pedestrians or does not give them enough room on the road, the result could very well be a serious accident.

These simple tips could help drivers and pedestrians avoid an accident in these early weeks of winter and throughout the coming months.

Source: Owatonna People's Press, "First snow leads to slick roads in Steele County, southern Minnesota," Al Strain, Nov. 11, 2013

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