FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — With a Winter Storm Warning currently in effect for most of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, staying safe on the area’s roads and highways will be of primary concern to those that have to drive in the snow.

According to a media release, the Red Cross connects with local emergency management officials and partners to prepare for local needs.

“We urge everyone to make plans early for the possibility of difficult travel in some areas, and to adjust your plans, if possible, to travel when conditions improve,” said Chris Harmon, Regional Disaster Officer, American Red Cross of Missouri and Arkansas. “It’s also important to have an emergency kit in your car with water, snacks, medicines, phone chargers and other essentials in case you become stranded.”

If you must hit the roads during a storm, the Red Cross advises keeping your vehicle’s gas tank full to help prevent the fuel line from freezing. Drivers would also be well-served to carry the following inside a vehicle: a windshield scraper, a small broom, sand or cat litter for tire traction, blankets and coats, and an emergency kit containing bottled water, non-perishable food and any necessary medications.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation offered some specific tips for driving during extreme winter conditions. First, all drivers are advised to stay about 200 feet behind road-clearing equipment and trucks, as those crews need room to operate and can begin plowing or spreading materials without notice.

Allowing additional space between all vehicles is also suggested to provide an adequate distance for braking. Drivers should also be on the lookout for black ice, which may look wet on roads but is actually a thin layer of ice.

Finally, travelers should be patient, plan their trips in advance and allow extra time to reach their destinations.

Click here for road conditions in Arkansas, or here for conditions in Oklahoma.