BOISE – Today marks the launch of the “12 Days of Winter Driving,” a safety campaign from AAA and the Idaho Transportation Department reminding drivers to be careful on the roads during the snowy and icy days ahead.
According to ITD’s Idaho Traffic Crashes report, there were nearly 7,400 crashes in December, January and February of last year, resulting in 2,000 injuries and 41 deaths.
“Slick roads and reduced visibility can present big challenges for drivers, and there tends to be a spike in traffic crashes each winter as a result,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that many of these crashes occur at lower speeds, because people are a bit more cautious when the weather turns nasty. We hope that this campaign will help everyone take safety a step further.”
The following “12 Days of Winter Driving” tips will be shared on social media from December 14 through Christmas Day:
- Visit AAA.com/winterprep and 511.idaho.gov for more winter driving information.
- Be prepared with chains or tire socks to maintain traction on snow and icy roads. Practice installing them before you need them.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, with protein snacks, water, a blanket, warm clothing, a flashlight with extra batteries, flares or reflectors, a first aid kit, and basic tools. A tarp or towel can keep you dry if you need to kneel or lay down to put on tire chains or fix a flat.
- Always check weather, road, and traffic conditions before you go.
- Wash your car regularly to clear dirt and grime from windshields and lights. Replace skipping or streaking windshield wipers. Always remove snow and ice from windows, mirrors, lights, the roof, and the hood before hitting the road.
- Make sure your tires are ready for the road. Use the quarter test – turn a quarter upside down in your tire tread. If you can see the top of George Washington’s head, it’s time to think about changing the tire.
- Ditch the distractions and stay focused on driving.
- Watch for icy spots on curves, hills, bridges, and shady areas. Temperatures and weather conditions can change throughout the day and at different elevations.
- Budget extra travel time (and stopping time) when winter weather conditions exist. Increase your following distance.
- Make sure your battery and charging system are ready when the temperature drops.
- Stay calm and drive at speeds that are appropriate for the conditions.
- In the event of a crash or vehicle disablement, stay with your vehicle if it’s safe to do so, and break out your emergency kit. Use hazard lights, flares or reflectors to alert other drivers.