Winter Driving Safety in Idaho
Winter has arrived here in our valley a bit earlier than expected! The first big storm of the season has already left a surprising amount of snow on the ground and local ski escapes like Bogus Basin are looking at opening earlier than they have in almost 50 years!
With holiday trips to see friends and family as well as outings to take care of the Christmas shopping being things most of us won’t be able to avoid – not to mention just getting around in the day to day and going to work – driver safety is a very important item to consider.
Here are a few tips to help you be prepared:
Easier said than done at times, but if the weather is bad you may really need to think twice as to whether going out is truly necessary. Sometimes just staying at home is the best, safest, way to avoid trouble.
Keep It Serviced
If your car needs repairs get them done now rather than later. Breaking down in the warm months is no big deal; you can walk to get help or just wait for help to come. In Winter this may not be possible and may even be a danger in and of itself. It’s a good idea to have your vehicle winterized and to make sure the battery and electrical systems are all working properly.
Some good general maintenance tips include:
Making sure your windshield wipers are in good condition and working.
Making sure your windshield wiper fluid is full ( of fluid, NOT water ).
Making sure your gas tank is at minimum half full at all times.
Keep a bag of sand or cat litter in your trunk – this is good not only for if you get stuck but also to add a little extra weight to your vehicle.
Always keep a blanket or two as well as some clean drinking water and snacks in the vehicle in case you do get stranded somewhere for an extended time.
If you absolutely can not avoid going out the best thing to do is go slow. Four wheel drive is great for keeping you on the road while you are moving but does absolutely nothing to help if you are stopping on the ice. Slow down, plan ahead for even short trips to take a lot longer, and leave early if need be.
Living in the Northwest can be challenging over the long Winter, but it’s one of the things we endure to enjoy the rugged beauty of our state. If you take precautions and stay prepared there is no reason why the snowy months can’t be safe and enjoyable.