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As temperatures drop, turn up your awareness

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As the brisk winds of fall sweep through the Denver Metropolitan Area and winter's chill seems just around the corner, Airmen coming to Buckley Air Force Base from warmer climes should pay attention to driving dangers.

"Winter driving in Colorado can be very hazardous due to icy roads and limited visibility, so stay tuned to weather conditions, plan your trips carefully and winterize your vehicle," said Lt. Col. Beverly Sloan, 460th Space Wing Safety Office. "As an extra precaution, it's a good idea to put an emergency kit in your trunk just in case you get stuck on the highway."

The Army Corps of Engineers suggests the following to avoid problems with driving during cold weather: 

- Keep your speed down when driving on wet roads. Excessive speed is the major cause of accidents during the winter. Remember, the posted speed limits are for dry weather, not wet, slippery roads. 

- Leave extra distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. This will allow you the extra time necessary to respond to any situation. You will also need more room to stop in case of emergency. 

- If your are driving on a four (or more) lane highway that's wet, leave yourself an "out." Do not drive at the same speed right next to someone who may slide into you on a slippery road.

- Whenever possible, use low gears when driving downhill and around curves on wet roads. 

- For stopping on ice and snow, lightly apply your brakes. This also applies to vehicles with anti-lock braking systems. 

- To begin driving on ice and snow, accelerate slowly for maximum traction and less wheel spinning. On very slick surfaces, start in second gear to prevent wheel spinning.
 
- If you are required to use chains, avoid driving over 25 mph. Your chains, car body, and tires will remain in better shape if you drive at a lower speed. 

- If you find yourself in a skid, do not brake heavily, do not jerk the steering wheel, and do not panic. Instead, turn your steering wheel into the direction of the skid and gently brake.

- Use your seatbelt every time you get in your car and insist on it for all passengers.

For Buckley Air Force Base reporting instructions during inclement weather, call the snow line at 720-847-SNOW. This line is normally updated by 5 a.m. when there is inclement weather.

All drivers can benefit from slowing down and increasing awareness during the winter weather. Let's all keep winter driving safety in mind and help Team Buckley get through to summer with no accidents.
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