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The Kankakee area had its first run-in with the white wonders of winter recently. In case you forgot winter is upon us and that white-knuckle driving is on the horizon — which is easy to do when temperatures exceed 60 degrees a couple of days before Christmas — let it serve as a reminder.

But more snow — and the delights of traversing outside when it arrives — is most certainly coming.

However bare the road appears, lower temperatures make conditions potentially hazardous. You may never drive on black ice, but you certainly will remember if you do.

And while we make this go-around every year, there’s inevitably those who completely forget how to drive on the snow and ice. So for all, here’s a few safety factors to keep in mind when you have to leave the warm next that is home this winter.

• Always wear a seat belt.

• Slow down. Slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering and slower braking all are required in winter driving conditions.

• Put down the handheld devices. Not only is it against the law, it defies common sense.

• Leave plows plenty of room. A snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you. They can kick up blinding flurries if you’re following too closely.

• Avoid using cruise control in snow and ice.

• Use care when approaching intersections, ramps, bridges and shady areas. All are prone to icing. Ramps can be particularly troublesome, particularly if others have already tried, failed and are somewhere on the ramp unable to move.

• Do not travel during bad weather unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to make a trip, be sure someone is aware of your travel route.

• Prepare an emergency kit. It should include jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, water, non-perishable food and a first-aid kit.

Drive safely. There are people who will truly miss you if you’re not around.