It's that time of year when inclement weather can lead to mechanical problems and car breakdowns, as well as crashes on freeways.

Officials with Idaho State Police say there are some rules when it comes to abandoning your car - if you absolutely have to - that can prevent your car from being towed.

ISP Lt. Matthew Sly says the best case scenario is if you are able to get your vehicle completely off the roadway with no tires touching any portion of the pavement. If you do this, you'll have a 48-hour window before your car is towed. If you leave your car and it's touching the pavement in a certain area, it's a different story.

"In between mile post 26 and 50 on I-84 and also on the in- and outbound Connector, if your vehicle is left on the paved portion of the roadway we have a three-hour tow policy," Sly said. "That three hours begins when one of our patrol troopers stops at a vehicle and determines that it's left there abandoned. We have certain markings that we have to do and certain procedure that we have to follow."

Sly says the main reason for these rules is safety. If a car is too close to the highway it could be hit by other cars and cause accidents.

"It definitely becomes a hazard," Sly said. "If you think of all the distractions that people have inside the vehicles now with phones and everything else and occasionally we do get abandoned vehicles that get hit on the roadway and it obviously becomes a traffic problem at that point."

If a vehicle is left abandoned on the pavement on any highway when it's dark, the time limit does not apply. Sly says it will be towed immediately if ISP is unable to contact the registered owner.

Sly also says if you need to abandon your car, you should call into the dispatch center and provide your name, location, and a phone number to reach you at.

"We make every effort to try to contact the owners of the vehicle before we tow them" Sly said. "The other option that they have is that they can [dial] *ISP (*477) to contact our regional communication dispatch center."

You can also leave a note on your car with your name and phone number if you are unable to make a phone call.