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Driving on Thin Ice

You've heard of the expression "skating on thin ice."  This is exactly what happened on Saturday to about a dozen motorists in Lake Geneva attending a winter festival.  Their cars went through the ice.  They had parked at a location at their own risk, and they certainly paid the price.  Luckily, no one was injured.

The temperature fluctuations we've experienced lately created a not-so perfect situation of "unstable" ice.  AAA has some guidelines when it comes to ice thickness and how it applies to you.  This advice is for clear, new ice since "white" ice isn't as pure and sturdy. 

It's advised to stay off ice two inches of less.  Ice fishing is okay on foot with a thickness of at least four inches.  It's five inches for snowmobiles and ATVs.  Keep in mind if the ice is between eight and twelve inches, you should be okay driving a car or small pickup on it. Bump these numbers to 12" to 15" for a medium struck. 

Before heading out, contact a local bait shop or lakeside resort to ask about ice conditions.  Once out on the ice, it's highly recommended to record the depth, with a measuring tool, every 150 feet.  Also, vehicles should be parked at least 50 feet from each other and moved every few hours to prevent sinking.  If you make a hole next to the car, and water bubbles over, it's a good indication the ice is sinking.  So you should move. 

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