Road conditions are expected to take a turn for the worse starting Thursday evening. Bellingham residents are advised to take advantage of the decent road conditions Thursday to complete any travel needs, such as shopping and other errands, and plan to avoid unnecessary travel on Friday until conditions improve.
Weather forecasts indicate up to four inches of snow Thursday night, transitioning to substantial amounts of freezing rain early Friday morning. This combination will likely create very hazardous driving conditions all day Friday as the potential for ice on top of compact snow will be very challenging for road crews to address.
If you must travel, be prepared with these winter driving tips from our City of Bellingham’s Office of Emergency Management:
- Clean off your entire vehicle to keep flying snow and ice from obscuring visibility – be sure to clear your headlights and brake lights as well as your windows, hood, and roof
- Drive belted & use car and booster seats properly
- Keep gas in the tank – a low gas tank in freezing temperatures can cause your car to stall
- Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle with jumper cables, flares, cell phone & charger, ice scraper, water, first aid kit, flashlight and blankets
- Don’t crowd the plow – allow snowplows and other emergency response vehicles plenty of room to do their work. If visibility is limited, don’t pass.
- Be aware that bridges and ramps are most likely to freeze first
- Do not use cruise control
- Decrease speed and leave plenty of room to stop
- If you start to slide, keep your eyes aimed at where you want to go and steer toward that point. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently. If you have antilock brakes, do not pump the brakes but instead apply steady pressure. You will feel the brakes pulse – this is normal.
- Got stuck? Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper. Turn your wheels from side to side to push the snow away from the tires. Clear the snow away from the wheels and the underside of your car. Ease your car out with gentle acceleration.
- If you become stranded, do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation.
- Turn on your vehicle’s headlights before getting out of the vehicle.
- To attract attention, light a flare if you have one, or hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna.
- If you are sure your car’s exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every hour or so to depending on the amount of gas in the tank.
- Keep at least one window slightly open. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut.
Check for future updates at cob.org.