State trooper shares dos and donts of winter driving

BELLEVUE, Wash. – With snowy and icy conditions on the way, Washington State Patrol warns drivers to get your vehicles ready, slow down, and stay alert.

A ten-hour day can quickly turn into 15 hours for Washington State Trooper Chris Klukas when there’s a snow emergency on the roads.  First, he says he has to be ready for the day ahead.

cars on snowy road

“I’ll throw extra food, extra bottles of water in my car. Bring changes of clothes. Try to bring a few things I can give to people if they’re stuck on the side of the road and they’re going to be there for a long time,” said Klukas.

He’s hoping you’re ready for the weather, too, by maintaining your vehicle.

“If your vehicle has issues running day to day, if just driving in the rain is slick for you, the snow is probably not the best option,” said Klukas.

His biggest pet peeve is overconfidence that leads to speeding or driving too quickly for the conditions.

“People can get their cars going and they forget they also have to stop and that’s going to take longer than it normally would,” said Klukas.

Plus, roads that may look clear could be covered in ice.

“It’s mostly clear but you still have the snow piled up on both sides, as that melts and comes across the roadway there, it freezes again,” said Klukas.

Remember the driver going the wrong-way on I-5 on Monday in Everett?  Trooper Klukas says that person should’ve stopped and called 911 to get help to turn around.

“Getting turned around in that weather is pretty difficult. Your vehicle isn’t going to react the way it normally would.  If we show up we can help block lanes and get you turned around and on your way,” said Klukas.

Drivers who spiral out of control and end up on the side of the road and get stuck in the snow need help from other drivers to keep them safe.

“You should be making a safe lane change to the left away from that vehicle,” said Klukas.

When drivers don’t move over, they run the risk of hitting a disabled vehicle or emergency responder.  A Washington State Trooper was assisting after a crash on I-90 Westbound at Sunset.  WSP believes the driver might’ve been impaired when he hit the trooper’s car.

“If people pay a little bit more attention, it could prevent a lot of stuff from happening, “ said Klukas.

Luckily that trooper is out of work with minor injuries.  So if you’re not going to drive for the conditions or follow the rules, Trooper Klukas says it is better you don’t drive at all.