SEATTLE – A new poll by PEMCO Insurance finds drivers in the Northwest are comfortable, even confident in their snow-driving skills. Based on their own skill and what they see on the roads, 54% of drivers in Washington and Portland, Ore. say they’re comfortable driving in inclement weather.
On the other side of the state, that number jumps. 64% of Eastern Washington drivers say they’re comfortable driving in bad conditions.
“That makes sense, with their experience driving in a colder climate,” PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg said. “My own perception was that the east-west disparity would be even greater, based on the traffic snarls we see in snowstorms west of the Cascades.”
Regardless of where you live, Northwest drivers should be especially cautious during the first snowy days of the year, which are substantially more dangerous than those that follow, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.
In case you get stuck in your car while on the road, PEMCO offers some tips:
- Try to get as far off the traveled roadway as you safely can.
- Turn on your flashers, and leave them on. A dead battery is better than causing an accident for which you could be held responsible.
- Set out flares to warn other drivers, if you can safely do so.
- Make a reasoned judgment about whether to stay with the vehicle and call for help, or to strike out on your own. Some factors to consider are your health, weather-appropriate clothing, distance to the nearest help, and the likelihood of your vehicle being hit while you’re inside it.
- Leave a note in the window with your contact information. That improves your chance of hearing from someone who hits your vehicle, or from the authorities.
- Take your most valuable items with you.
- Be sure to remove documents containing sensitive personal information about you or your family.
- Set the emergency brake and lock the doors. Professional towing companies know how to safely tow your vehicle.