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After Dozens Of Crashes, Washington Officials Urge Caution During Winter

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In 2021, Washington State officials told reporters, we must strive to be better drivers. That includes remembering that winter driving conditions still put lives in danger. Even if fewer people are hitting the road due to the pandemic. 

According to officials with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), snow has never ceased to be a problem for those traveling over the mountain passes. With 20,000 vehicles traveling over the pass each day, accidents remain a reality.

During the past weekend alone, officials said that dozens of vehicles spun out of control, leading to a 7-hour closure of an entire stretch of I-90. These accidents involved large and small vehicles, and many were not ready for snow driving, officials suggested.

In order to make accidents less likely during the colder months, officials are urging drivers to take the precautions listed below.

Keep Your Car Ready For Winter Driving

According to the WSDOT, all vehicles should carry chains, even those equipped with all- and 4-wheel drive. That means drivers should have them stored in the vehicle and be ready to use them when needed. Unfortunately, many drivers forego learning how to install them beforehand and are caught unprepared in the middle of a storm. 

In addition, vehicles should be fitted with all-weather or snow tires during the colder months. The proper tires provide vehicles with the traction needed to drive through snow-covered mountain passes.   

Check For Weather, Road Conditions Before Leaving The House And Be Prepared

Being caught in a winter storm while behind the wheel is not fun. That’s why officials urge drivers to check for the weather conditions before they leave the house. 

Tune in to WSDOT’s travel alerts or follow the agency on social media to stay on top of weather and road closure news, or call the 511 phone system to learn about potential alerts. If a snow storm approaches or you learn of potential problems while on the go, however, do not despair. 

Officials urge drivers to have everything they need in the vehicle in case they are slowed down due to potential delays or road closures. 

Carry bottles of water, extra blankets, snacks, flashlights, and even extra masks and hand sanitizer. 

Think Ahead To Avoid Winter-Related Accidents

During winter, you should never expect anything but less than ideal travel conditions. As a matter of fact, roads can be dangerous even when they aren’t covered in snow. All too often, roads will be covered with slush or black ice instead, making it for very slippery conditions. If that is the case while traveling, avoid speeding and increase the space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead to avoid collisions. 

Additionally, be ready to change your travel plans. 

If you learn heavy storms are on their way, reschedule your trip. 

For more WSDOT tips on how to avoid winter accidents, follow this link