(COLORADO) — With winter driving conditions making their debut for the season, it’s time to get your vehicle ready. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has recommendations for how to prepare for winter roads.

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Here are the must-haves in your car, according to CDOT:

  • Sturdy scraper/snow brush/snow shovel to clear snow
  • Flashlight with extra batteries or crank-powered flashlight
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Gallon jug of water
  • First aid kit and essential medications
  • Tire chains and tow strap
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares/reflectors to signal for help and warn other motorists
  • Battery or crank-powered radio to listen to emergency broadcasts

CDOT recommends having these good-to-haves:

  • Extra set of clothes, including coat, hat, mittens, boots, etc.
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Non-perishable snacks like granola bars
  • Non-clumping kitty litter/sand for traction
  • Deck of cards or board game for entertainment

When it comes to wise driving CDOT recommends:

  • Take a little extra time to clear your car of snow and ice before leaving for your destination.
  • There are three actions you do most when you drive: accelerate, turn, and brake. In winter weather, you should only do one of those actions at a time. Attempting more than one of these actions at once can cause slide-outs, spin-outs, and other harmful scenarios.
  • When traveling downhill, if possible, switch to a lower gear, and gently tap your brakes. This helps to avoid burning your brakes, and in winter weather, it helps keep traction.
  • Keep momentum when traveling uphill to avoid getting stuck.
  • When driving at night, keep your headlight beams low. High beams can amplify the appearance of snow and lead to decreased visibility.
  • Slow down – driving too fast for conditions causes most crashes.
  • If you encounter a multi-car collision, stay in your car. You’re safer in your car than outside of it.
  • Follow Colorado’s Left Lane Law. No matter the season, keep right except to pass.
  • Signage is your best friend – look ahead and plan ahead for abrupt turns or stops.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Never drive impaired.

Check out CDOT’s website to learn more about safe driving, especially in winter weather.