MADISON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - Winter is finally here, and the Madison County Sheriff's Office is reminding us the rules of the road may need to be adapted to the snowy conditions we have during this time of year.
"Especially once that first snow falls, that first layer of snow is pretty slick and we're all kind of getting back into that winter driving mode. We need to be extra cautious and kind of take our time," Madison County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Sergeant Isaac Payne said.
He says not only should we be extra cautious and be ready to slow down but get ready to adjust to any of the conditions that may be present on the road.
"The big thing is we need to slow down, so we need to slow down our speed, not necessarily just the speed limit, but slowing down to what would be appropriate for the conditions that we're driving in."
He says that will include giving extra space in between drivers, as thanks to the slick conditions our reaction time is going to be limited.
Payne reminds us during the winter, we need to take things easy, and "ease into our turns, take a nice and slow and steady, ease into our gas and our brake so it can take ten times as long to brake on the ice as it does on dry pavement." Part of that is to remember that our tires might not be able to have traction on the road right away so make sure that you also ease into the acceleration process after we stop.
He says knowing how your car will handle in the snow is also very important, as well as all the safety features in our model of car.
"Some of us drive older vehicles, some of us newer vehicles, and just knowing what safety features your vehicle has, such as and I like brakes. That might be something we take for granted these days, but if your vehicle's older, it might not be equipped with that. So knowing what safety features your vehicle does have is very important. And then how to use those."
He says the snowy roads should be able to be factored into our upcoming commutes.
"Plan on your drive taking a bit longer, so give yourself extra travel time and that way you don't have to worry about running late as much and you can arrive safely. So just factor that into your travel time that it's going to take a little bit longer than usual and then you can drive safely."
He says remember to ride your seatbelts, as if something unforeseen does happen it can minimize some of the damages.
He says as we all should be prepared for wild life on the road too.
"We have to account for animals on the roadway. So just like cars where we need extra time to stop, these are even more dangerous because they can pop up unexpectedly. So make sure you're scanning ahead and watching for wildlife on the road as well."
Payne's last tip is to limit all of the distractions you might have while on the road. Those distractions can include our cellphones, electronics in the car and food.
For more safety tips you can visit the Idaho Transportation Department website here.