Whether you’ve lived in Idaho all your life or are a new resident, all it takes is one winter to show just how seasonal the state can get. Heavy snow in the mountains, high winds in the valleys and frosty temperatures throughout quickly remind us winter is here. And while it’s beautiful, this time of year is also dangerous, particularly when it comes to road conditions. It’s always a good idea to brush up on a few winter driving tips in Idaho before winter really takes hold.
While you might do your best to stay indoors, bundled up tight all winter long, inevitably, you’ll have to get behind the wheel at some point. Whether you’re driving to work or going out for a night on the town, be sure you’re practicing safe seasonal driving tips. Here are six that could save your life:
- Take turns slowly: Cornering is cause for concern in winter! Taking a turn too quickly can cause your tires to lose traction and send you into a spin from which it’s hard to recover. Take your time approaching turns and maneuver through them at a speed much lower than you might be used to—especially if there’s fresh precipitation.
- Steer into the skid: If you lose traction and start to fishtail, steer into it, not away from it. Over-correcting will cause your spin to worsen, making it harder to regain control of your vehicle. Instead, steer gently in the direction you’re sliding, then bring things back to center slowly to recover.
- Don’t slam on the brakes: There’s no more surefire way to send yourself into a skid than slamming on the brakes. Instead of pushing down hard to stop, pump the brakes. Slowly easing them on and off will help slow your car down without causing your tires to lose traction.
- Defrost before you drive: If you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to crank the heater to full blast and try to drive looking through a small section of clear windshield. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for an accident. Take the time to scrape your windows clean and defrost your car before you get out on the road with other drivers.
- Be aware of boundaries: If you’re driving before the plows come through, be aware of the boundaries on the road. Look for crash barriers on the freeway and evidence of curbs on residential roads. If you can see any markings on the road or signs above, use them to keep your bearings, so you don’t veer off course and clip a median or run into a ditch.
- Lights and wipers on: Make sure you’re observing the rules of the road when it comes to lights and wipers. If there’s precipitation, turn both on. If you can’t see a car clearly from 200 yards away, make sure your lights are on. These are simple tips to remember that’ll have a high impact on your visibility in winter conditions.
Winter may be beautiful, but it brings deadly road conditions with it. Pay attention to the forecast and try to avoid driving when there’s lots of fresh snow and ice. Wait for plows whenever you can. Above all, observe these winter driving tips in Idaho and practice alertness behind the wheel. It could save your life or someone else’s this winter!