tips can make winter driving safer
Snowstorms, icy conditions or poor visibility can create
hazards for even the most skilled driver. The easiest and most effective
way drivers can protect themselves during winter months is to allow
for extra travel time and to slow down.
When driving in winter weather conditions, follow these
10 safety tips:
Know before you go. Find out about road conditions
and weather forecasts before setting out. For weather-related highway
information 24 hours a day, call 1-888-IDA-ROAD (432-7623). Current
conditions also are available on the Internet at itd.idaho.gov (click
on Traveler Services).
Slow down. Speed limits are posted for safe
travel under dry conditions. Don't assume guidelines are the same
when driving in hazardous conditions. Allow plenty of space between
you and the car ahead.
Allow extra time. Leave a few minutes early
and allow extra time to get to your destination. If you are in a hurry,
remember it is better to be a few minutes late than to put yourself
and others at risk by driving too fast for the conditions.
Buckle up. Always wear your seat belt. Make
sure children are properly secured in a safety seat that is right
for their age and weight.
Play it safe around snowplows. Keep at least
two car lengths behind snowplows for every 10 mph you drive. Do not
pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary, and
do not cut back immediately in front of a snowplow. Never drive through
the snow being ejected from the plows - the force of the spraying
snow can throw your car out of control.
Use caution. Be aware of potentially icy areas
such as shady spots and bridges. Also take caution against black ice.
Drive under the speed limit if conditions warrant caution.
Prepare your car. Winter conditions increase
the importance of a well-maintained vehicle. Keep your car's windows,
mirrors and lights clear of snow and ice. Make sure tires and brakes
are ready for the extra demands of winter. Visit the mechanic and
ensure your battery and fluid levels are up to par and heating units
Share your travel plans. Tell family or friends
about your travel plans, including estimated departure and arrival
times, route and where you will stay when you reach your destination.
Be courteous and call those who may be worried when you arrive at
Keep in contact. If you have a cell phone,
make sure it is charged and carry a list of emergency phone numbers.
Be prepared. Keep emergency supplies in the
car: flashlights, extra batteries, first aid kit, pocket knife, blanket
or sleeping bag, mittens, socks and a wool hat, small sack of sand
or cat litter for generating traction under the wheels, small shovel,
bottled water, booster cables, rope, energy bars or other food, brightly-colored
scarf to attract attention in case of an emergency, waterproof matches
or cigarette lighter and map of the area where you plan to travel.