Spring in Wyoming is unlike Spring anywhere else. We get all excited, we start to consider dreaming of summer days and then BAM …. snow. And a lot of it! Wet and heavy, spring snow is great for snowballs and snowmen, however it’s terrible for driving conditions. Not to mention that due to the fact that it is SPRING, snow melts as the temperature rises during the day, and then once the sun sets the temperature plummets. And of course, all of that run-off freezes, creating very un-safe road conditions.
After last week’s winter storm, very bad wrecks and pile-ups were reported all over the state. So, we thought this would be a good time to remind everyone some basic safety tips for driving in winter/spring weather in Wyoming.
Be prepared. Keep emergency cold-weather supplies in your vehicle. Warm clothing, a flashlight, a blanket, glass scraper, and maybe even a little bit of food are always a safe bet during the winter months. Check your tires. Be sure your tires have a healthy amount of tread and grip. Also be sure they are inflated correctly. This can literally save your life when you hit a patch of ice.
Don’t use cruise control in bad weather. This may seem like a no-brainer but a lot of people need this reminder. Be aware and alert, control every moment those tires are in contact with the pavement. Or in winter – the ice or snow covering the pavement.
Drive slowly. Again, this may seem obvious, but a lot of people forget the importance of this when the weather gets bad. Whether it’s blowing snow, black ice, slushy roads, or low visibility, SLOW DOWN. Don’t let traffic behind you pressure you into driving at a speed that makes you feel unsafe. Better to get to your destination late than not make it there at all.
Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply pressure to the gas pedal and break pedal slowly and steadily. Starting fast and slowing down fast is a recipe for disaster causing spin outs, sliding, and loss of control. It takes longer to slow down on icy roads. Be patient and take your time.
Increase your following distance. If you need to stop in a hurry this could save your life or someone else’s. Back off and give the car in front of your space just as the car behind you should do for you.
Check the weather. It doesn’t matter what time of year you are driving in Wyoming, if you are driving a long distance it is always smart to check the roads. And during the winter months it could be the difference between life and death. Check the road map for driving conditions and then check the web cams. Don’t just drive into something blindly.
Talk to someone. Before driving a long distance or even somewhere that isn’t on your normal route let someone know. Notify others and let them know the route you plan on taking, the destination, and the estimated arrival time.
Winter in Wyoming is no joke, and let’s be honest neither is spring. And we all have places to be. But we all want to get there safely. Let’s make these last couple of snowy months as safe as possible.Drive safe Wyoming. Drive smart and keep yourself and others safe.
Written by: Alyx Raven Zgurich