Winter weather causing issues for drivers

Winter weather causing issues for drivers

It’s a winter wonderland out there, but those snowy, icy, and downright cold conditions can create issues for drivers.

“The biggest issue of course is ice on the road, especially early in the morning before it’s been treated,” said Sgt. Jason Davis with the Washington State Patrol, “so the best advice is to slow down watch your following distance.”

This time of year the Washignton State Patrol responds to many weather related crashes.

“When you’re driving, everything has to be done slower, the lane changes, the acceleration, that’s all got to be done slower and more gradual,” Sgt. Davis said.

And these extreme cold temperatures are throwing a wrench in already difficult winter driving.

“On my way out there, my truck actually broke down because of this cold weather,” said James Penix, a tow truck driver with Franks & Inland Towing. His truck broke down on the job Wednesday morning.

“We’ve been doing a lot of slideoffs, recovering [cars] out of ditches and mostly cars are broke down because of this extreme cold we’ve been getting lately,” Penix said.

Penix and Sgt. Davis both recommend creating an emergency kit full of food, water, flashlights, a first aid kit and blankets.

“Make sure you have extra pair of blankets for everyone in the car to stay warm,” Penix said, “because if your car is not running and you have no heat, you’re going to get really cold really quick.”

And a trick of the trade? Kitty litter.

“[It’s] always a good thing to have a bag of cat litter in your car just in case you get stuck it will give you a little bit of traction if you pour it out on your tires,” Penix explained.

Even if you aren’t the one stranded, Penix asks you help out those responders working hard in the frigid temps.

“Give us a free lane to work,” he said, “especially in these cold conditions, these roads are going to be slick and you people will be flying past us, they hit a sheet of ice, they’re going to be hitting the back of our truck.”

Inland Towing recommends getting your car serviced to make sure it is ready to go for winter driving.

WSP says it’s also against the law to drive with your windshield obstructed. That means, give yourself enough time in the morning to scrape off your windshield, warm up your car, and safely get where you need to go.