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IDAHO TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT'S WINTER MAINTENANCE
Winter Driving Tips
Prepare for a safe winter driving experience
Snowstorms, icy conditions or poor visibility can create hazards for even the most skilled driver. Safe motorists prepare for poor weather, are alert when faced with treacherous road conditions and take extra caution on Idaho’s roadways.
Plan ahead if you are traveling in winter weather. Call ahead for the road and weather conditions for where you’re planning to travel, and make sure your car is equipped and maintained before heading out.
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:
- Travel Smart. Travel Safe. Get updates on winter road and weather
conditions, emergency closures and access to tourist information
24-hours-a-day by visiting 511.idaho.gov or dialing 511. If your phone
company does not support 511, simply call 888-IDA-ROAD (888-432-7623) to
access the 511 system.
- 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 are working
- 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 your destination
- 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