Winter is finally here in Idaho; well, it's the closest thing we've had to winter in the Gem State. We still have about two months left where we could see some heavy snowfalls. It's February 12th, and it's our first snow of the season. Yes, I acknowledge that the mountains and our friends in the McCall Donnelly area have been hit hard, which is not unusual for that area.  

If you're new to the Gem State, here are a few tips from our friends at AAA on how to safely navigate on wet/snow-covered roads.  

Winter Prep for the season:

  • Test your battery; battery power drops as the temperature drops
  • Make sure the cooling system is in good working order
  • Have winter tires with a deeper, more flexible tread put on your car
  • If using all-season tires, check the tread on your tires and replace if less than 2/32 of an inch
  • Check the tire pressure; tire pressure drops as the temperature drops
  • Check your wiper blades and replace if needed
  • Add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze

What to do before hitting the road:

  • Clean your car’s external camera lenses and side view mirrors so you’ll be able to see what’s around you
  • Remove dirt, ice and snow from sensors to allow the assistive-driving features like automatic emergency braking to work
  • In frigid weather, you may want to warm up the car before you drive it
  • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never leave a vehicle running in your garage – even with the garage door up
  • If the forecast looks iffy, wait out the storm if possible; if you must travel, share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave

How to avoid a crash:

  • Avoid using cruise control in wintry conditions
  • Steer in the direction of a skid, so when your wheels regain traction, you don’t have to over correct to stay in your lane
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly
  • Increase following distance to 8 to 10 seconds
  • If possible, don't stop when going uphill

As always be cautious and drive defensively when on the roads.

Rose Garden at Julia Davis Park