With the combination of snow and ice on the roads and holiday travel, winter can be a dangerous time on Idaho roadways. Although our team at May, Rammell & Wells is here for you in the event of any car crash or truck accident, avoiding these devastating collisions is better for everyone.
As such, we’ve compiled the best winter driving tips from around the web!
1. If the Roads Are Bad, Stay Home When You Can
Seventy percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions and Idaho is no exception. If at all possible, avoid driving during dangerous winter storms and take a “snow day.” Bundle up with some hot chocolate and a good book! Staying off the roads is the only guaranteed way to keep yourself safe.
When planning a road trip, you should also schedule your driving around storms and pay close attention to road closures and winter weather advisories.
2. Know Before You Go
We understand that you can’t always take a day off work or forgo obligations due to adverse weather. Before you drive in winter conditions, however, make sure you know your vehicle and how it drives in normal conditions. For example, you should know whether or not your car has anti-lock brakes. You should also make sure your car is fully serviced, in good working order, and stocked in case of an emergency.
- Windshield wipers
- And defrosters
Make sure you have:
- Fuel or power (fill your gas tank or fully charge your electric vehicle!)
- A snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Warning devices (flares and markers)
- Extra blankets and jackets
- A cell phone and spare charger
- Emergency food and water
- And a first-aid kit
Making sure your car is packed and up to date on its service is especially important when you are traveling long distances or in less-populated areas. Plan your travel and route ahead of time and let others know how you are getting to, and when you expect to arrive at, your destination.
Even if someone is expecting you, though, you don’t need to rush! Your intended trip might take extra time because of weather conditions, so try to account for this when making plans.
3. Remember Your Dos and Don’ts
If your memory ever fails you, here’s a few crucial dos and don’ts that can help guide you through winter conditions:
DO stay home when you can.
DO fill your gas tank or charge your alternative fuel system.
DO slow down to account for lower traction on snow or ice.
DO apply the gas slowly to avoid skids and allow yourself plenty of time to stop.
DO increase your following distance to five or six seconds to increase your safety margin.
DO wear your seatbelt!
DON’T use handheld devices or focus on anything but driving.
DON’T use cruise control on slippery surfaces.
DON’T stop unless you have to, especially on a hill.
DON’T power up hills (do apply your gas carefully on or off hills).
NEVER drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
4. Handle Emergencies Like a Pro
Stopping or stalling in snowy weather can be scary, but panicking is the worst thing you can do. Instead, stay with your car and see if you can dig yourself out, but avoid overexerting yourself.
Keep your interior dome light on, put a bright marker on your antenna or windows, and indicate your presence on the road with flares or other markers.
When you run your engine, make sure to do so periodically and only long enough to get warm. This will prevent asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning and help preserve fuel until you are rescued. You should also clear your exhaust pipe to make sure dangerous chemicals are not backing up into the passenger area.
5. Call May, Rammell & Wells If Something Goes Wrong
Even if you do everything in your power to drive safely and avoid accidents during the winter months and busy holiday season, not everyone on the road will be so careful.