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Never driven in the snow? WSP trooper shares simple advice

"The biggest thing I can tell people is to just slow down and leave following distance," WSP Trooper Brian Senger said.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Many of us living in the Inland Northwest are used to driving in the snow. Young drivers and new residents may not have as much experience. 

Trooper Brian Senger with the Washington State Patrol recommends drivers give themselves extra time to get to their destination.

"The biggest thing I can tell people is to just slow down, leave following distance, and make sure you are aware of the road conditions and what's ahead of you," Senger said. 

Even if it's not snowing, a clear day can give drivers a false sense of security. 

"Black ice can look like water on the road, it depends on what the temperature is," Senger said. "We do see on nice days the same amount of collisions sometimes." 

The Washington Department of Transportation also recommends the following: 

  • Check statewide pass conditions online before heading out or planning trips.
  • Drive for conditions: slower speeds, slower acceleration, leave extra space between vehicles, give yourself more time and space to stop.
  • Check to see if you have traction tires & chains.
  • Know what the traction & chain requirements mean.
  • Watch a video to learn how to install tire chains.
  • Do not use cruise control.
  • Four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles do not stop or steer better on ice.
  • Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. And remember, the larger the vehicle, the longer the stopping distance.
  • Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady spots.
  • If you find yourself behind a snowplow, slow down and give the plow a little extra room.
  • Slow down and be extra cautious near the chain-up and removal areas. There are often people out of their vehicles.

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