Usually winter in Bellevue means a persistent cold, damp rain. But driving can get interesting when that rain makes a sneaky transition to snow and ice turning our roadways into an ice skating rink (stick to the normal ice skating). Usually, when this happens, we don’t get around. We hunker down, keep warm, and stay off the roads.
But sometimes we have to drive in snow and ice. To help you get you there, the City prepares before a storm hits to get equipment ready, stockpile supplies, and train staff for emergency response. While the City prepares, you should also make preparations. Here are several tips that can keep you and other motorists safe when you do have to get out there on the roads during the winter months
When you venture out:
- Don’t drive unless absolutely necessary.
- Plan your route ahead of time and consult the snow reponse priority map (pdf) to see what streets are on plow routes.
- Consult the traffic map and cameras positioned around the city to observe real-time conditions.
- Clear all the snow off your car, including the roof and trunk.
- Drive slow!
- Sign up for email alerts on the Extreme Weather Response page to get updates when a new message is posted.
- Increase following distance.
- Turn on your headlights.
- Be steady in your steering, braking, and accelerating. Avoid abrupt, sudden movements.
- Look ahead in traffic.
- Allow extra distance when stopping. If you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it. If you don’t have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal.
- Know that bridges, overpasses, and intersections can develop black ice.
- Use caution on hills, pausing at the top to allow traffic to clear, if necessary.
- If you get stuck, gently accelerate in a low gear. Do not aggressively depress the pedal or you risk digging yourself deeper.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Let your tires cool if you find them spinning.
- If your rear wheels skid, take your foot off the brake and steer in the direction you wish to travel, continuing until you straighten out. Gently accelerate.
- If your front wheels skid, take your foot off the brake and don’t move the steering wheel if the wheels were turned before skidding. Wait for your tires to regain traction before gently accelerating.
To report hazardous roads, water main breaks or flooding, call Bellevue Utilities at (425) 452-7840.
Be sure to follow the Transportation Department’s Twitter feed (@BvueTrans) for up-to-date information on road closures and conditions.
Driving in Snow and Ice video (via Bellevue YouTube):