Be safe on the roads when it snows

Snow and cold temperatures are in the forecast for the Seattle area in the days to come. Please consider these safety tips related to driving.

Road safety

If you are not able to stay home and off the roads, consider these tips for increasing your safety.

  • Drive for the conditions. Assume roads are icy and take extra precaution. Leave space between you and the vehicle ahead.
  • Keep your fuel tank more than half-full.
  • Pack an emergency kit in case you become stuck in your car. Items to include: flashlight, first aid kit, necessary medications, water, food, emergency contact information, blanket or sleeping bag, extra warm clothes, jumper cables and mobile phone charger.
  • Keep an ice scraper/brush and small snow shovel in your vehicle. Roof tiles, sand or kitty litter can give your tires traction in icy conditions.
  • Tire cables, chains and four-wheel drive are recommended for traveling in the snow. Icy conditions are treacherous for any vehicle.

Downed power lines

Calls to 911 about downed power lines increase during snow and wind storms. Always assume they are energized and can result in possible electrocution. Here’s what you should do if you encounter one.

If your vehicle collides with a light pole:

  • Call 911 to report your location.
  • Warn others to stay away from your vehicle.
  • If wires have fallen on your car, stay in your vehicle until firefighters arrive.
  • If you MUST exit the vehicle because of fire or other danger: (1) JUMP away from the vehicle; (2) LAND with both feet together; (3) SHUFFLE away. Take short steps and keep your feet in contact with each other and the ground constantly until you’re at least 35-feet away.

If you see a downed wire:

  • Call 911 to report the location.
  • If you have caution tape on hand, block off the area so others see the danger. Do not get any closer than 35-feet to the downed wire or touch it with any object.