Snow and Ice Safety on the Road


Images: Pixabay

Neighborhood Safe Neighborhood, #16

by Staff Neighborhood Safety Reporter

“When the mercury drops…”

We can’t stop winter storms from happening, but we can prepare to be safe. Make sure both your house and your vehicle are prepared for the winter weather.

This will be a two-part safety feature: This week: On The Road. Next week: At Home.

We know you are busy with holiday plans, so you might want to print these suggestions to review and prepare before the mercury drops!

People who have lived in areas with severe winters find it amusing to watch the reactions of Puget Sound residents. A blanket of snow on the streets can cause school delays or cancelation, as well as limited mail delivery and garbage pick ups.

Bellevue’s Transportation Department has approximately 17 trucks that can be adapted with plows and sanders to clear roadways of snow and ice. But only one truck with a plow and sander is always ready to go.

The City has a ‘priority response system’ for main arterial and neighborhood connector streets to accommodate emergency vehicles, as well as transit, school buses and commuter traffic. Steeper, less traveled streets may have to wait for arterials that serve the greatest number of people. Due to the wide range of elevations, some city streets might not be serviced before the snow melts.

Here is a map of their snow priority routes:

Bellevue Ice & Snow: Frequently asked questions:

Winterize your car:

__ Fill the gas tank when half full. For electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, decrease the drain on the battery. In general, lithium ion batteries have reduced energy at lower temperatures. Additionally, most hybrid vehicle batteries will use battery power for self-heating in low temperatures. The battery drain due to heating can be minimized by keeping your electric vehicle as warm as possible during freezing temperatures. A common way to do this: plug your vehicle in at night during the winter, keeping the battery temperature in its optimal ranges.

__ Install snow tires or purchase tire chains

__ Check anti-freeze levels

__ Maintain proper windshield fluid levels and wipers

__ Ensure heater and defroster work properly

__ Keep emergency supplies in your car: a snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper; abrasive material (sand or kitty litter), in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow; jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices (flares and emergency markers); blankets for protection from the cold; and a cell phone and charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine.

__ Check their tire pressures frequently during cold weather, adding enough air to keep them at recommended levels of inflation at all times. Tire pressure usually lowers itself in winter and raises itself in summer. Under-inflated tires can cause a car to react more slowly to steering. Every time the outside temperature drops ten degrees, the air pressure inside your tires goes down about one or two PSI. Tires lose air normally through the process of permeation.

Before getting into your car:

__ Bring your cell phone and be sure it is fully charged.

__ Allow extra time to reach your destination. Plan your route; the shortest route isn’t always the fastest or safest.

__ Tell a family member, friend, or neighbor where you are going, what route you will be taking and the approximate arrival time. If you are overdue, someone will know that you may have run into difficulties and may need help.

__ Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.

__ Keep your windows, headlights and break lights clear and defrosted — even if you're only going a short distance.

__ Check on-line for current emergency information and weather forecast:

__ Dialing 511 (or call 1-800-695-7623) for the latest on highway conditions on Washington roads and in the mountain passes.

__ WSDOT’s Highway Advisory radio at 530 AM and 1610 AM

Metro routes

The following website can answer all your metro transit questions (How can I find out if my bus is on time or canceled? Will my bus stop change if buses are operating on snow routes or the Emergency Snow Network?, etc):

Behind the Wheel:

If possible, stay home and avoid driving on roadways. But if you must drive, avoid storm-damaged areas and drive using extreme caution.

__ If the power is out and traffic signals are not working, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.

__ Drive slowly; especially on shady spots, elevated bridges, etc. which can quickly ice up.

__ Accelerate and decelerate slowly avoid skids.

__ Don’t slam the breaks! Give yourself plenty of room to stop. Four-wheel and all-wheel vehicles will not stop or steer better in icy conditions than two-wheel drive vehicles.

__ Don’t stop going up a hill.

__ Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.

__ For how to handle skids:

__ If you must park and abandon your car, try to move your vehicle completely off the roadway. If not, parallel park as close to the curb as possible. Leave your phone number visible on the dashboard. Abandoned vehicles in the road will be towed.

__ Report road hazards (flooding, downed trees or wires, snow/ice) to:

Bellevue Service Center at 425-452-7840 (24-hour hotline) -or-

Submit non-emergency service requests on the MyBellevue app

Subscribe to emergency alerts:

__ Alert King County

__ Northeast King County Regional Public Safety Communication Agency

__ Bellevue School District School Messenger

Download apps:

__ My Bellevue App

__ Red Cross Emergency

__ NOAA Weather Radar

Follow Twitter sites:

__ @bellevuewa

__ @Bellevue Transportation

__ @wsdot_traffic

__ @kcmetroalerts

__ @soundtransit

__ @nwsseattle


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