TWIN FALLS — As temperatures continue to drop and winter edges closer, the condition of Idaho roadways will soon deteriorate. To try and help drivers safely travel during the upcoming winter months, the Idaho Transportation and Department and AAA are sharing some general safety tips.
“It’s this combination of the darker shorter days and the slick road conditions that can lead to a lot of issues,” said Matthew Conde, the Public Affairs Director for AAA for Idaho.
One of the main contributors to accidents occurring during these months is speeding. People tend to drive too fast and do not take into consideration the weather and how it impacts the roads.
Officials want to remind people to be patient, allow enough space between you and other drivers, and be patient with wherever you are heading.
“Slow down and watch for those slick spots," said Jillian Garrigues, Public Information Officer for Idaho Transportation Department. "If you know the roads are icy, just give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going and check those road conditions ahead of time.”
According to the Idaho Transportation Department, last year, there were a recorded 2,419 accidents, 21 of which were fatal just for the month of December.
Since there is still time before we get to the peak of winter weather, people are encouraged to have their cars checked and ensure they're in working order.
“Last time we checked, around 30% of vehicle owners put off routine maintenance." said Conde "Well, those things have consequences, and when we start talking about things that could really delay you, an issue with your battery, an engine leak, your tires. Most of those things could be prevented.”
Once everything is in check, before you set out for your travels, it's recommended to put together an emergency kit. That way, if you find yourself in a tight spot, you are prepared.
“A blanket, warm clothing, a flashlight, a phone charger," said Garrigues. "There is a great list we have on our website.”
Once you're able to hit the road, no matter where you're heading to, it's imperative to let other people know where you're heading, especially if it's a long drive.
“You want to make sure you tell people the route you’re taking," said Conde. "When you expect to arrive; when you left; because a lot of the time when we go into rural parts of Idaho, cell service still isn’t perfect. So, we do need to have that plan in place so that somebody else can act on our behalf if we don’t show up.”