|Temperature: 59.3°F | Humidity: 91% | Pressure: 30.03in (Rising) | Conditions: Overcast | Wind Direction: SSE | Wind Speed: 0mph|
WSP OFFERS SAFETY TIPS BEFORE TRAVEL OVER MOUNTAIN PASSES
November 13, 2009
(SKY VALLEY) -- With Winter road conditions returning to Stevens and other local mountain passes, the Washington State Patrol recommends these easy and effective winter driving tips:
~ SPEED: Patrol trooper Keith Leary of the Marysville WSP office says, “The most important tip is to drive at an appropriate speed for the road conditions. It is far more difficult to control a vehicle on an icy and/or snow covered road than a dry or wet road; this issue compounds the faster you’re driving.”
~ SPACE: Leave plenty of space between the vehicles you are following. “Remember, the last thing you want to do is slam on your brakes if you're driving on snow or ice. Doing so could put you into a spin that will cause an accident almost every time. You need to leave plenty of room to slowly come to a stop. Be defensive, take your time and never tailgate,” adds Leary.
~ CHECK CONDITIONS: Make sure to check weather and driving conditions before you set out on a trip over Stevens or other mountain passes. Plan a second route in case the one you normally drive becomes blocked or is closed for an extended period.
~ CHAINS: Be aware that you might need chains at higher elevations as conditions can change quickly so be sure to have them in the trunk.
~ SAFETY WHEN STUCK IN SNOW: If you have to pull off the highway due to hazardous conditions or you get stuck, keep your headlights on, and turn on your hazard lights as well, so that both oncoming and following traffic can see you. It is recommended you stay inside your vehicle in case another vehicle loses control. You are more protected inside of your vehicle if a collision occurs. If you have to get out of your vehicle, keep your head on a swivel and constantly monitor traffic.
~ EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT: Trooper Leary says “Prior to setting out, check emergency equipment: spare tire, jumper cables, shovel, flashlight, flares, ice scraper, brush, blanket and food/water. Travel with additional warm clothing, hat, coat, gloves, and warm footwear.”
~ HAVE PLENTY OF GAS: Be sure to check your gas gauge before you go and make sure you have more gas than you think you’ll need as you may need that extra fuel if you are stuck due to an unforeseen situation.
~ KEEP VEHICLE FREE OF SNOW: Prior to driving, clear any snow and ice from your vehicle, including your taillights, headlights, windows and roof to ensure good visibility. As always, keep your seatbelt buckled at all times.
Editor’s Note: Kids, print out the above safety tips and make sure mom or dad follows them before driving over a mountain pass in winter.