|Whether commuting to work or traveling over the
upcoming holidays, less-than-ideal road conditions may be part of the
Fort McCoy’s Automotive Skills Center, building 1763, can help
authorized patrons prepare their vehicle for winter. The facility has
lift bays, as well as bays for welding, tire changing and individual
instruction on privately owned vehicle repair.
John T. Ward, an Automotive Skills Center employee, said among the items
to check to help ensure vehicle safety for safe winter driving are
battery charge, antifreeze concentration/temperature (to 21-32 below
zero), belt conditions, clean air filters, tire pressure and tread
levels, and windshield wipers. Oil and windshield cleaner should be
changed to winter blends, if applicable.
Sgt. 1st Class Adam Baatz of the
1st, 340th Training Support Battalion of the 181st Infantry
Brigade replaces a shock and changes oil on his vehicle at the
Automotive Skills Center, in preparation for winter driving.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
Travelers must be aware that winter conditions can affect travel
plans, said Deb Heise-Clark, a safety specialist with the Fort McCoy
Installation Safety Office (ISO).
Road conditions can range anywhere from snow to freezing rain/sleet
creating slippery road conditions.
Heise-Clark said strategies to combat these factors include allowing
extra time to reach a destination and slowing down.
Motorists also can get valuable information about winter driving
conditions for Wisconsin roads by calling “511” or 1-866-511-9472 (WISC)
or by visiting the Web site http://511wi.gov.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, planning ahead,
driving at a safe and legal speed, driving alert and sober and buckling
up can help motorists ensure they make it to their destination safely.
People who travel during the winter should be prepared for the
unexpected. Getting stranded during a winter storm can be a matter of
life and death.
Motorists who must travel during a storm should:
• Plan their travel, selecting both primary and alternate routes.
• Let someone know their travel routes and itinerary so that, if they
don’t arrive on time, officials will know where to search.
• Check the latest weather information on the radio.
• Try not to travel alone — two or three people are preferable.
• Travel in a convoy of vehicles, if possible.
• Drive carefully and defensively. Watch for ice patches on bridges and
• Take note of the vehicle’s odometer and coordinate/synchronize it with
exit numbers, mileposts, or crossroads so in case of a crash or sliding
off the road they are better prepared to identify their location and
summon law enforcement officers, rescue workers, or tow truck operators
• If a storm begins to be too much to handle, seek refuge immediately.
• If your car becomes disabled, stay with the vehicle, running your
engine and heater for short intervals. Be sure to “crack” a window in
the vehicle to avoid carbon monoxide build-up.
Be courteous to those awaiting your arrival:
• Call ahead to your destination just as you are leaving.
• Let someone at your destination know the license number of your
vehicle, what route you’ll be traveling, and give a realistic estimate
of your travel time.
• If you have a cell phone, give that number to the party at your
• If you have friends or Family at your place of origin, you should call
when you arrive to let them know you have arrived safely.
• If road conditions, tiredness, etc., delay or postpone a trip, make a
phone call. Let people on both ends know of the delay.
Military personnel, as well as civilians, traveling via vehicle this
winter, should consider making a composite risk assessment of the drive.
The travel risk planning system or TRiPS at the U.S. Army Combat
Readiness/Safety Center website
https://safety.army.mil can help travelers plan their trips and
indicate potential hazards along their routes.
For more information about safety in the Fort McCoy community, visit the
Fort McCoy Extranet, which is available through the Fort McCoy Corporate
Network or the public website at
http://www.mccoy.army.mil or call ISO at 608-388-3403.