Winter driving is a mental and physical challenge. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety wants motorists to take time now to prepare for the risks that lie ahead. In a blog on their website, the department recommends people prepare their cars for the change in season.

Drivers should always clear snow and ice off their entire vehicle, including the top and rear to avoid impairing the view of those traveling behind. The windshield should also be totally scraped off. Officials encourage you to get a tuneup, check the tread depth of the tires and make sure the windshield wipers are in working order.

Stock up your emergency kit with the essentials, such as blankets, warm clothing, heavy boots and high-energy snacks. Have at least half a tank of gas when heading out, let someone know where you are going and when you should arrive and be sure your cell phone has a good charge.

Should you become stranded, stay with the vehicle. In the report, Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Neil Dickinson states, "I have assisted stranded motorists where they simply ran out of fuel when temperatures were well below zero. This could be a life-threatening situation as some of the occupants were not prepared with extra warm clothing or a winter survival kit."