SPD and SFD urge slowing down and driving cautiously

Michele Anderson, Public Safety Communications Manager 509.742.0063

Monday, December 19, 2016 at 9:26 a.m.

The Spokane Police and Fire Departments warn that storms expected over the next few days with anticipated snowfall is a reminder that winter weather driving conditions have arrived. To be safe and courteous driver in these conditions will require slower speeds and greater following distances for everyone.

According to public safety officials, motorists need to give themselves plenty of room to stop by allowing at least three times more space than usual between their car and vehicles in front of them, especially during snow and ice conditions on area streets and roads. Slowing down and driving with cautious respect for conditions is a key to maintaining vehicle control and avoiding collisions during winter driving conditions. This also applies to four-wheel drive vehicles. Although four-wheel drive vehicles may have better traction when using the four-wheel drive option, they have no better stopping capabilities than any other vehicle on the road in winter driving conditions.

Sergeant John Griffin of the Spokane Police Traffic Unit would like to remind everyone that “posted speed limits are for perfect conditions and that driving behavior must be changed to reflect the current weather and road conditions. We want everyone to have a safe and Merry Christmas with their families.”

Other winter driving tips offered by the Spokane Police and Fire Departments include:

  • Leave early to allow extra time to reach your destination.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady spots.
  • Turn on your headlights to increase visibility to other motorists, and keep the windshield and headlight lenses clean.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter problems in winter driving conditions.
  • Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Don’t pass snowplows and sanding trucks. Keep a safe distance behind snowplows, to give yourself plenty of braking space if you need to suddenly stop.
  • Always wear seatbelts and make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt and that children are secured in child seat restraints.
  • Make sure that your windshield wipers are in good condition, and maintain adequate levels of window washing fluid for winter conditions.

In addition to these tips, Interim Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer adds, “We want to remind motorists to move to the right or pull off the roadway for responding emergency vehicles. It will make our roads safer for all of us.”

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