The first real winter storm of the season hit Pocatello early Monday morning.
The snowy conditions caused several accidents and slide-offs in the area.
Idaho State Police district 5 in Pocatello reported the total number of accidents and slide-offs to be 42. That number is from midnight through 5 p.m. Monday.
County wide, Bannock County reported about 19 accidents by early Monday afternoon. One was county, six were Chubbuck and the rest were Pocatello city limits.
As of 11 a.m. Monday, Pocatello police reported 12 accidents, all occurring after 8 a.m. The police department said patrol officers were slammed with calls early Monday.
Captain Eric Dayley with ISP, said people need to remember that driving habits need to change when winter driving conditions hit.
He said with winter arriving, drivers need to slow down – and not just the speedometer.
“The mantra is to go slow in ice and snow,” Dayley said. “And not only slow speed-wise, but also your maneuvers. You should accelerate slowly, brake slowly if possible. If you jam on your brakes, you could go out of control.”
Dayley said one of the most common things ISP sees is people adjusting to speed limits rather than on what conditions actually allow for.
“People say, ‘Well, the posted speed limit is 80, so if it’s snowy or icy out there, I need to go slower so I might need to go 70 or 65,'” Dayley said. “Well, no. They need to be thinking more along the lines of 40 or 35 because the ice and snow don’t change just because the speed limit changes.”
ISP wants to remind drivers to use extra caution this time of year. Dayley said always be prepared. Make sure your tires are up to date, have the proper supplies in your car, allow yourself plenty of travel time and always be ready for what could happen right in front of you.
According to the Idaho Transportation Department, approximately 25,000 cars travel the interstate between Pocatello and Idaho Falls every day.
So Dayley said considering how many cars drive on the interstate, 42 accidents is low. He said that shows the majority of people are being careful. He said 42 is still 42 too many though so people always need to be alert and attentive behind the wheel.
The snowstorm also had people going to tire stores to get their winter tires put on. Discount Tire in Chubbuck said they had been very busy Monday. From 8 a.m. until noon, it had worked on about 25 to 30 cars.
The manager of Discount Tire said even though they were busy, they had 15 service men working on cars. So he said customer wait times weren’t really being affected. He said no matter how busy, they can always get customers in and out fairly quickly. He said winter time always keeps them busy and Monday was proof winter is here.
The manager said when tires hit 5/32 tread, that’s when they need to be changed. Discount Tire said they will inspect tires for free to see if they’re okay for winter.