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Some Safe Advice For Winter Driving

From the Pacific Ocean to the east flank of the Rockies, the monotony of roads coated with ice and packed snow is broken only by the occasional stretch of deep snow.

Some mountain passes are closed, and chains are required on others. Drifts cover many country roads, while city streets are axle-deep in white crust.

In other words, it’s just plain nasty out there. And the only way to stay safe is to keep the car in the garage, said Clarissa Lundeen of the state Department of Transportation. Realizing that not everyone can hunker down until Easter, Lundeen offered the following advice for drivers:

Allow extra space between cars and extra time for travel. “Many accidents are caused by people who are rushed,” said Lundeen.

Cars should be equipped with all-season radial tires, typically marked “m/s” for mud and snow.

Carry tire chains, and either flares, reflective triangles or bright antenna flags.

Carry an emergency kit with extra clothing, a blanket, snow boots and a warm, bright jacket.

Stay with the car if it gets stuck or involved in a minor accident. Pedestrians are at risk of being struck by cars on snow-covered roads.

Using the engine to heat a stranded car can cause a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gas in the passenger compartment. To minimize the risk, keep the exhaust pipe cleared of snow, partially open a window and shut off the engine from time to time.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Planning for winter driving (Idaho edition only)

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