Driving tips: How to stay safe this winter

Winter and holiday driving tips.

BOISE - Just two days ago, police responded to a multi-car accident at the Idaho-Oregon border which landed an Adams County man in the hospital.

The multi-car crash pushed the man off the bridge and into the water 50 feet below. He was able to swim to a small island to safety.

Police say this whole ordeal was caused by a patch of black ice on the Snake River Bridge, so while temperatures in the Valley may be above freezing there are still dangers. 

"You want to make sure your vehicle is all up to speed," said Trooper Andrew Fischer with Idaho State Police.

Starting with tires, switching out your all-season tires and replacing them with snow tires, which use special rubber compounds that stay pliable in the cold temperatures giving them more grip. 

If you haven't already purchased snow chains, you may want to reconsider.

"If you're not using the snow tires and you're just running the all seasons it could be the biggest difference in the world," said Gabe Jimenez with Les Schwab Tire. "Some passes will actually require that depending on the weather and stuff so it's definitely something that you would want to be safe rather than sorry."

Before the first snow hits, you should also take your car in for a check up, including an oil and brake check. 

For your trunk, an emergency kit or a severe weather kit.

"You'll have hand warmers, a shovel to help dig yourself if you're getting stuck in the snow," said Jimenez. "You want to make sure you're going to be able to keep warm."

You may also want to add a blanket, extra clothes and a heavy coat.

"If you get into a situation where you have to sit and wait for a tow truck or anything like that, you want to make sure you're prepared for it," said Jimenez.

With more cars on the roads Fischer says one of the most important things you can do is to maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. Also, check the weather.  

"Maybe tonight may not be the best night for you to travel and you wait until the morning to travel when it's daytime," said Fischer.

He says it all comes down to being responsible and being aware of other drivers. It could be the difference between life and death.   

"It's really difficult for us when we do get to a crash and we have to make a notification over the holiday season," said Fischer.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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