Idaho Transportation Department encourages people to prepare for winter driving

Posted at 12:56 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 16:04:38-05

BOISE, Idaho — Ahead of the holiday travel season, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is encouraging people to be ready for winter driving.

ITD's annual winter safety campaign, Idaho Ready, aims to help drivers prepare for conditions on highways before hitting the road. Idaho Ready tips and resources will be shared on ITD's social media accounts and website.

Planned topics include navigating the new Idaho 511 website, general winter driving tips, how to keep vehicles ready for colder temperatures and snowplow ride-along videos to hear safety advice from ITD operators.

Each winter ITD's 550 snowplow operators travel a combined 3.4 million miles across the state. When encountering a snowplow, drivers are reminded the safest place is behind it and never pass a snowplow on the right.

Other winter travel tips from ITD include:

  • Check the road conditions before traveling. Visit or download the Idaho 511 app for an easy look at weather reports, cameras, and more.
  • Keep a winter emergency kit in your car with food/water, small shovel, warm blanket, etc.
  • When roads are wet or icy, slow down and give yourself more stopping distance. Turn off cruise control and remember, bridges and overpasses are the first to freeze when temperatures drop.
  • If you do slide, stay calm, brake very gently, and turn your wheel in the direction of the skid. Try not to overcorrect.
  • Keep your windshield completely clear of snow and ice. Fill up on windshield washer fluid, make sure your tires are in good shape, and battery is charged. Learn how to use tire chains and carry them with you.
  • Give our snowplow drivers room to work. Never pass a snowplow on the right! The safest place is behind the plow where the road is clear.
  • Let others know your travel plans, especially if you will be driving through areas with no cell service. Check in when you make it.  
  • Beware of drowsy driving! Stop and rest when needed, and plan breaks on long road trips. Rest areas are mapped on Idaho 511.
  • If your holiday celebrations include alcohol, plan ahead for a sober ride home. Look out for your friends and family and help them get home safely too.
  • Buckle up, stay engaged behind the wheel, and drive for the conditions this winter.