Driving is the most dangerous task anyone performs on a regular basis and is often taken for granted. It is easy to lose focus, become distracted, or make wrong decisions. Everyone must strive to keep their “head in the game”, to keep their speed at or below posted limits, maintain control of emotions, and focus on the task of driving safely.
- Always be sure that your vehicle is properly maintained, that you have plenty of fuel and that the snow has been completely cleared from all windows and lights.
- Have a Winter Driving Kit that at a minimum includes the following important items: jumper cables, gloves, blanket, snowbrush, collapsible snow shovel, flashlight, a box of granola, water, tow strap, flares, beanies, and hand warmers. Water should be included, too. Just make sure you rotate them. This kit could make the difference if you and your vehicle are stranded alongside the road. www.ready.gov/car
- Make sure your vehicle has good tires and tread. If you are unsure about the condition of the tires on your vehicle take it to your favorite mechanic.
- With snow and ice covering the roads, it is important to remember that the safest thing you can do is SLOW DOWN. Drive for the conditions.
- At the same time, remember to chain up when necessary. Far too often, drivers slide off the road because they have no traction. Taking the time to chain up BEFORE you get in trouble, rather than after you slide off the road, will save time, repairs, and potential injury.
- With darkness coming early, it becomes harder to see ice covering the road. This difficulty can be compounded by weariness. Never hesitate to pull over and rest if you need to. Driving is not the time to be nodding off.
- Plan your trips. Is it necessary to drive now? Can you hold off a day to miss bad conditions where you are planning to drive? Should you leave early to miss a storm or to have plenty of time to drive without being hurried? Check your local road reports: wyoroad.info, cotrip.org/home.htm, udottraffic.utah.gov.
Finally, it should be noted that the Wyoming Highway Patrol NEVER accepts road conditions as the cause of a collision. They invariably attribute the collision to either “driving too fast for conditions” or “not maintaining control of your vehicle” and cite the driver accordingly. In other words, you might not think sliding off the road is your fault, but it is always your responsibility.