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Idaho Ready

Traveling in Idaho during winter conditions? Be Idaho Ready!

Video: Winter Driving Tips
Winter Driving Tips


Shifting the Conversation

Buckle up, Idaho Campaign
Be Here Tomorrow | SHIFT

VIDEO: Rules to LVE By

SHIFT | Drive Well Idaho

Learn about Idaho’s effort to SHIFT driving behaviors @

VIDEO: Prepare for the road by checking out the new & improved 511 Road Report
Check out the new 511 Road Report

Idaho’s *NEW* 511 Road Report

Road & Weather Conditions, Cameras & Construction

For the latest road report in the older 511 format go to:

Be prepared for changing travel conditions all across Idaho

• Learn more at Winter Driving: Be Idaho Ready
• For construction project locations & details go to:
VIDEO: I-84 Corridor, Drive Engaged


Winter Driving in Idaho

Whether you’ve lived in Idaho your whole life or are a new resident, it’s important to do everything you can to prepare for an Idaho winter. As the cold weather sets in, so do winter road conditions.

How do you prepare for winter travel in Idaho?

We recommend starting by calling 5-1-1 or visiting to check road conditions and alerting friends and family of your travel plans (especially if you are traveling through areas with poor cellular service).

Winter Driving Checklist: Is your vehicle ready for the road? Did you pack essential items in case of an emergency?

Studded Snow Tire Dates: Legal use timeframes for Idaho and surrounding states


Move Over Law

Idaho’s “Move Over” law has been expanded to include responders to roadside emergencies, such as tow truck operators.

Make the Move Video
Make the Move: Others will follow

Safe Travel Videos

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SHIFT | Drive Well Idaho

Learn more about Idaho’s effort to SHIFT behaviors and emphasize engaged driving @

“Move Over” Law

Law signed by Governor Brad Little
House Bill 106

“Slow Down, Move Over” protects emergency responders and maintenance crews working to keep our roads safe

ITD Safety VestIn 2006, the “Move Over” law provided protections for police by requiring motorists to move over for law-enforcement personnel operating with flashing lights. Now drivers must also move over for other emergency responders to traffic incidents, too, such as tow truck operators using flashing lights in a stationary position.

Vehicles pass by ITD workers every day on the state highways or the interstate at 60-80 mph or more. The sudden gush of air from the passing motorist or the rocking of the ITD vehicle as a semi passes by is a sober reminder that death is only feet away.

Work Zone Safety Vest “The ‘Move Over’ Law makes an inherently risky job safer for our staff,” said Jerry Wilson, ITD Operations Engineer in North Idaho. “At highway speeds, it only takes a split second for an accident to happen, so making some space to allow our crews to maintain the roads makes the highways safer, both for us and the traveling public.”

“We really appreciate the courtesy of other drivers who slow down and move over to give us a safer space to do our jobs,” said ITD Treasure Valley Incident Response driver Kyle Wright. “That buffer of space makes a big difference. The less we have to worry about vehicles moving past us, the more we’re able to focus on the incidents we’re working on, and hopefully remedy them more safely and quickly.”


511 Info

511 Map View
Use the “Layers” tab to select specific features to appear on the 511 map.
Travelers can access the Idaho road report online at, download the free 511 mobile app, or call 5-1-1 for route information.

Idaho’s Traveler Information System, or 511, features route conditions and weather, camera views, construction impacts, delays, closures and more. Both the mobile app and the website can be customized by the user according to preferred route. Cameras and weather stations positioned all across the state help travelers make their driving plans. Recent improvements to the 511 Traveler Services platform allow drivers to more efficiently track driving conditions, and the six-hour weather forecast on highways during the winter weather season.

511 B4 U GO!

In addition to road reports, cameras and weather data posts on, here are the travel-related features.

  • Construction Locations & Impacts
  • Electronic Signs – Location & Current Message
  • Mountain Passes
  • Public Transit Routes
  • Rest Area Locations
  • Surronding States’ Road Report Links
  • Traffic Speeds
  • Truckers’ Information
  • Weather Warnings
  • Winter Driving Conditions

Just before the first snowfall and Thanksgiving travel in 2005, the online 511 traveler service was unveiled, bringing a new level of service and trip preparation to Idaho drivers. More than 31 million visits after that November day more than a decade ago, an enhanced 511 service thrives.

What are the weather conditions on the Idaho routes you plan to travel?

Remote Weather Information System StationThe Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has developed a network of weather stations, also called Roadway Weather Information Stations or RWIS. These weather stations are located throughout Idaho along the highway system managed by ITD. Go online at to see the latest weather data for each station location.

ITD maintenance crews use the weather stations to gauge local weather conditions and determine the best responses for road clearing. This RWIS data helps our snowplow drivers and other technicians to know how much salt, sand or de-icer to use, and where it is needed. The RWIS program is a highly successful system that many other states, and more than a dozen other countries, have requested program details.

Using RWIS data, ITD crews have been able to keep roads clear and passable more than 85% of the time during winter storms. As recently as 2010, that stood at just 28%. Go to the ITD Dashboard to see the latest report on “Time Highways Clear of Snow/Ice During Winter Storms.”

Work Zones

As you travel through work zones, slow down and drive engaged.

Work Zone Awareness

Work Zone: Roadkill Removal
Work Zone: Roadkill Removal
Check out these videos on different types of ITD work zones including Short Duration Operations like ITD maintenance work.

Click for more ITD Videos


SHIFT | Drive Well Idaho

Learn more about Idaho’s effort to SHIFT behaviors and emphasize engaged driving @

Join the Conversation

VIDEO: Driving in the Moment

Work Zone Awareness: Short Duration Operations

Along with larger road construction projects, which are typically well-marked and have better visibility for drivers, the work of ITD’s highway maintenance crews also often includes a lot of Short Duration Operations. These can pop up anywhere, at any time. Whether it is a highway worker stopping to remove a shredded tire or animal carcass from the road, or performing maintenance work like an impromptu guardrail repair right next to the travel lanes, these jobs generally put workers closer to the road, and closer to danger – there is less time for the worker or the driver to take evasive action in those circumstances. In fact, an ITD operator was killed just outside Arco last year in a Short Duration Operation, reminding us all of the importance of being safe and vigilant in all work zones across the state.

Drive Carefully in Work Zones

Work Zone Safety VestIn Idaho, there were 22 work zone fatalities from 2014-2018, with 2,258 crashes in work zones during that same time period. Drivers are asked to put away distractions and pay extra attention to their surroundings. Safer driving means safer work zones for all.

ITD continually takes steps to improve employee safety. The department has shifted to high-visibility yellow vests to stand out from the orange barrels and equipment on the side of the road. ITD also recommends a common-sense approach to driving in work zones:

  • Slow down and drive at the posted speed limit or at speeds appropriate for conditions.
  • Adhere to traffic signs and follow the directions of flaggers and pilot cars, when present. Prepare for heavy equipment operating in the area.
  • Watch for altered traffic patterns or reduced lane widths. Devote your full attention to driving and avoid distractions such as cell-phone use.
  • Check before leaving home to determine whether you might encounter highway construction. Call 5-1-1, check or download the 511 app.
  • Expect delays and exercise patience.
  • Always wear a seat belt.


Spring Driving

Load Limits on Idaho Roads | Spring Breakup Restrictions

Spring conditions with roads breaking up

Details about current limits & locations can be found at:

Spring Load Limits
In spring and late winter, ITD imposes spring breakup load limits to protect our highways. This practice minimizes damage to these roads from heavier vehicle loads using these routes during the freeze-thaw cycle. Spring breakup load limits are fairly common in areas with the most severe winter weather — northern and eastern Idaho.

  • Motorists are urged to be patient when traveling on highways where limitations have been placed.

Typically, larger commercial vehicles are limited to a lower speed and axle weight. When subjected to high speeds and heavy loads, soft spots begin to wear, eventually breaking up and creating potholes.

Large Rock SlideThere’s nothing like a car-sized boulder resting in the middle of a highway to wreak havoc with your highway travels. Driving has its share of inherent risks, but ITD wants to do everything possible to narrow down the list of hazards.

Every year, the potential exists for rockfall. If there’s moisture in the air, chances are pretty good there will eventually be rocks that tumble down to the road below. This is because when hillside soils get saturated by that moisture, they start to give way and can no longer hold back the rocks embedded in those soils.
Precipitation in the form of snow, rain or even fog with a high moisture content increase the chances of a slide.

Not everyone will be like the massive landslide near Elk City in 2016, but it is a stark reminder of the dangers posed this time of year.

These events demonstrate an increased likelihood of rocks and debris releasing from hillsides each spring, especially for highways bordered closely by steep hillsides or mountains.

“Many of Idaho’s highways cut through forests and along steep slopes,” said ITD Emergency Program Supervisor Neal Murphy. “In the spring, when soils are saturated, the risk of falling debris is significantly higher. That is especially true in forests that have experienced recent fire or in mountainous terrain that is vulnerable to avalanches.”

The Idaho Transportation Department reminds drivers to plan ahead and check the 5-1-1 traveler advisory system (via phone or web) before heading out, especially to the mountains.

Boulder in roadwayIn the event of a slide or rocks on the road, drivers are asked pull onto the shoulder, turn emergency flashers on, and call local law enforcement, the local ITD office or nearest maintenance facility with a location description or milepost. Remain in the vehicle until help arrives.

The landslide west of Elk City carried about 235,000 cubic yards of material – 47 million lbs. – down to the highway. The biggest boulder near Smiths Ferry was estimated at 29 tons. While those are staggering numbers, even much smaller debris could derail a motorcyclist or bicyclist.

A recent spring was highlighted by a 50-ton boulder coming down the hill on Warm Springs in Boise, a rockslide on Idaho Highway 97 in northern Idaho that carried an estimated 450 tons of debris, a huge boulder on Idaho Highway 55 at Smiths Ferry (above photo), and this massive boulder in eastern Idaho.

spring avalanche and rock slideSpring snow conditions can be deceptive. While the air may feel warmer and thoughts turn to spring, often conditions are ripe for a springtime slide.

Our ITD avalanche forecasting crew remains busy into the spring, monitoring avalanche conditions. Even in years with less snowpack, warmer weather creates higher avalanche danger. It can be a time of high volatility from loose, wet snow. Spring can also hold avalanche hazards not encountered during the colder parts of winter. Snowpack and weather transitioning into a warmer and wetter spring pattern can result in snow instability.

Due to this risk, our avalanche crew continues to actively monitor snow pack and evaluate weather conditions outside of the traditional winter months. Their assessment guides decisions related to keeping motorists and our road crews safe.

Snow avalanchesITD encourages anyone that lives, works or travels through our state’s avalanche zones to visit before you head out. It provides updated traveler conditions, information on potential closures or other hazards.

Maps & Resources

Upper Mesa Falls in Eastern Idaho
Upper Mesa Falls in Eastern Idaho

Idaho Maps


IPlan | Idaho’s online mapping resource
Go to IPlan to find:

Click on the social media icons in the menu below to follow ITD and stay current on transportation-related news.

Idaho History
Learn about Idaho history as you travel throughout Idaho. Watch for the Historical Markers as you drive Idaho.

Travel Resources

Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) Information