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Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Alice Fiman, WSDOT Communications, 360-705-7080 (Olympia)
OLYMPIA – With forecasts calling for more snow and even colder temperatures moving through Washington, drivers should prepare for snow and ice on the road tonight and into Thursday. Reports indicate the heaviest accumulations should be from the South Puget Sound area down to Vancouver.
Drivers should expect driving conditions similar to a mountain pass across much of Washington overnight and Thursday morning. WSDOT crews will work through the night and into the morning to keep roads open and traffic moving. Unprepared drivers who end up blocking traffic could make their goal much more difficult.
Factors that go into the decision to stay off the roads in severe weather are different for every person and family, but when ice and snow are in the forecast, everyone should pay attention to media reports and advice from officials. When choosing to drive in these conditions, motorists should:
- drive for conditions – reduced speeds, slower acceleration, careful steering and slower braking
- slow down approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady spots
- allow extra time to get there
- use headlights regardless of the time of day
Additional winter driving tips include:
- Avoid using cruise control.
- Four- and all-wheel drive vehicles offer little advantage on icy roads.
- Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. And remember, large vehicles take longer to stop.
- Brush the snow off your vehicle, especially your lights, before you drive. It makes you more visible, plus snow and ice flying off a vehicle can be dangerous to other drivers.
- If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it until it is safe to pass. Remember that a snowplow driver has a limited field of vision. Stay back (15 car lengths) until you’re sure it is safe to pass or until the plow pulls off the road.
Drivers across the state can plan for weather and road conditions by keeping plugged in to Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Web and mobile tools and local media reports. Bookmark and use WSDOT’s online tools at www.wsdot.wa.gov.
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