Winter’s arrival means tricky and even treacherous road conditions ahead.

When icy, snow-packed roads and dangerous driving conditions materialize, they will once again spotlight the value of emergency services.

Many of those services are taken for granted until actually needed. An adequate blood supply would be one such important, albeit often overlooked, lifesaver.

People in serious accidents often need blood transfusions. The demand usually soars in the winter when road conditions deteriorate, and flu season takes hold.

American Red Cross Blood Services, Community Blood Center and other blood donation facilities stand ready to press for more help at a time of urgent need.

Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, according to the Red Cross. They may be cancer patients, organ transplant recipients or someone injured in an accident.

Unfortunately, the toll of severe storms — whether during winter or other times — has a tendency to shut down blood drives and create shortfalls of blood.

During such critical times during the year when accidents are more common and the flu deters would-be donors, blood availability in a given region may dip to a half-day supply or below. Those situations make it all the more vital for people who are able to donate blood to do so.

Giving blood is safe and easy. Donors only need to be at least 17 years old, 110 pounds or more, in good health — and willing to donate some time, usually about an hour.

As always, there's a particular need for donors of O-negative blood, the universal blood type that can go to any patient regardless of their type. O-negative often is used in emergencies when doctors can't wait to type a patient's blood.

Millions of lives are saved each year by blood transfusions of all kinds.

Blood shortages could be averted if more people took the time to donate. An estimated 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, but less than 10 percent actually step up each year to help others with the lifesaving gift.

Prospective donors in Kansas may choose from a variety of dates and locations, and should know donations made in their hometowns help meet demand locally and beyond in their region.

While the opportunity to give the gift of life should be sufficient, it never hurts to add a fun component to encourage more participation in blood drives. Often, that means some sort of promotion or giveaway. Community Blood Center is offering donors in January an entry into a drawing to win two 2020-21 Kansas City Chiefs season tickets, a season parking pass and two Chiefs hats. And, everyone who shows up to donate at an American Red Cross drive through Jan. 19 is eligible to win a trip for two to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

The need to bolster the blood supply isn’t seasonal. The year-around effort to enlist donors is necessary because of the challenge of maintaining a sufficient supply of blood in communities across the nation.

It's easy to take the blood supply for granted — until you or a loved one is in need.

Please consider giving one hour of time to save a life.