Icy driving tips from the Whatcom Sheriff’s Office

With cold weather having arrived, make sure you are prepared for winter driving.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office recommends that you stock your vehicle with blankets, water, tire chains, jumper cables, a shovel, some basic tools and an ice scraper.

Driving conditions in Whatcom County can deteriorate quickly, and you may find yourself stranded on a rural road, or caught off guard trying to drive home from work. Law enforcement agencies, fire departments and tow truck companies get overwhelmed during weather emergencies, and you may find yourself fending for yourself for an extended period of time. Warm clothing, water and a cell phone charger are necessities while waiting for assistance.

When snow or ice appears overnight, morning commuters may find it safer and less stressful to wait an hour or two before driving to work, school or other appointments.

Road conditions can improve rapidly in the morning hours due to warming temperatures and the availability of road crews. The safest choice is to not drive if you don’t have to.

If you do drive, remember some basic winter driving tips:

Clear your windows of any ice or snow before driving.

Avoid sudden braking or turning. When coming to a stop, allow yourself plenty of room to slowly apply the brakes so you don’t skid out of control.

Turn on your emergency flashers if you are forced to drive at significantly lower than normal speeds or you find yourself stuck in a white out or other low-visibility conditions.

Most importantly, slow down and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Better late than never!

Prepare yourself now so you are not caught off guard when poor driving conditions hit.

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