As we steamroll our way to the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the coming days can be filled with fun and frivolity as we enjoy time with family and friends. However, this can also be a time when a pleasurable outing turns tragic with little warning. While we have enjoyed an unusually mild December so far, it's more than likely we will be in the grip of Old Man Winter before long. That is why we remind everyone who takes to the road to be ready for bad weather. All drivers should be prepared for an emergency with the following items in their trunk: ice scraper, windshield de-icer, flashlight, whisk broom, gloves, blanket, booster cables, extra clothes, candle/matches, bottled water, snacks, necessary medications and a first-aid kit. If you are planning a long trip, it is best to let someone know your travel route. Check weather and travel conditions before heading out and don't take chances if the weather is bad. Allow yourself extra time for travel, or wait until conditions improve. Call the Ministry of Transportation's information number on road conditions, listed in your local phone directory, or check the on-line Winter Road Condition Reports. It is also wise to ensure your vehicle is ready to tackle winter conditions. That means having your vehicle checked by a licensed mechanic to ensure that things like your vehicle's critical fluids (oil, coolant, brake fluid, etc.), wiper blades, lights, bulbs, battery and most importantly, the tires, are all in good condition. In a skid, it's important to regain control of your vehicle, especially if it skids sideways. To do this, decelerate by taking your foot off the brake, step on the clutch or shift to neutral, then look where you want your vehicle to go and steer in that direction. All of the above are simple, common sense tips that are easy to follow. However, it is almost a certainty tragedy will strike someone this holiday season who didn't follow one or more of these safety tips. Don't let it be you.