The idea that we will travel safely and quickly to our destinations is expected but not always guaranteed, especially during extreme winter weather. In our area especially, drivers are often taken by surprise by icy conditions, snowy roads and extreme winds. Though we may not expect winter weather, we must be prepared for the worst.

Drivers have been known to get stuck inside snowbanks and survive on just what’s inside their car or truck. Keep a warm blanket tucked under your seat, along with some bottled water. It would be a good idea to keep some nonperishable food there, too.

If you do become snowbound, do not leave your vehicle. The reality is that you just don’t know what conditions are like, and your car could provide the only real shelter in which to ride out the storm for miles.

Go slow. It takes longer to stop down on icy roads. Know your brakes and their limits.

Keep your tank at least half full of gasoline at all times. This helps prevents fuel in the engine and lines from freezing and also ensures your ability to keep the heater running in case you do get snowbound.

Though these suggestions seem like common sense, many people have little to no experience driving in winter weather. If you know wintry conditions will make driving difficult, try to avoid getting behind the wheel altogether. But if you must go out, make sure to follow these basic tips. They could save your life.