Be prepared before you drive in winter weather

QUAD CITIES (KWQC) - We're used to winter weather in the Quad Cities, but it's important not to take any risks when it comes to winter driving.

Authorities say you should try to stay off the roads during hazardous winter weather conditions, but if you have to drive--be prepared.

Experts say have an emergency supply kit, in case you run into trouble. It should have a first aid kit, jumper cables, tire chains, flares, water, snacks, phone charger, flashlight, warm clothes, boots, mittens, blanket, tow rope, shovel, ice scraper, snow brush, and a bag of sand. It may seem like a lot, but they can help keep you safe if your car goes off the road or breaks down during a winter storm.

You should also be sure your cell phone is fully charged and make sure you have a full tank of gas before heading out the door.

If you do have problems, stay in your car. There have been several recent deaths at accident scenes after drivers got out of their cars and were killed in a secondary crash.

Trooper Dan Loussaert with the Iowa State Patrol says you should stay in your car unless you're in immediate danger.

"Now sometimes you may be in harm's way right in the middle of traffic sometimes there may be a fuel leak or a fire something like that where you need to get out of the vehicle," he said.

Loussaert says if you do have to get out of your car, try to get as far off the highway as possible. Find a ditch or field to stay in while you wait for emergency vehicles.

On Monday, two Iowa State Patrol cars were involved in secondary crashes. They were hit while responding to crash scenes.