What you need to ‘snow’ this winter

Brittany Cinderella, Columnist

Whether you’re new to Ellensburg, lived here for a few years or are a permanent resident, you should always make sure to practice proper snow etiquette. After moving here from Sammamish, a town with little to no snow ever, I had to learn from my own mistakes to make sure I was safe on snowy roads. 

  1. Always carry a snow brush, even if the snow chances are low.

After checking the forecast, you might think you won’t need a snow brush or a way to clean off your car. As soon as winter temperatures start, put the brush in there. The ideal tool should have an ice scraper on one side, and a brush on the other. 

  1. Brush as much snow off of your car as you can reach, even if you’re in a rush to leave.

Snow is really annoying to clean off of any car, especially if it’s icy or a few inches thick, but it can cause an accident if you’re not careful. The dangerous snow to get rid of is the snow on your windshield and on the roof of your car. With your windshield, if you don’t clear all of the snow off, it can slide to the driver’s side and block your vision. With the roof, if you slam on your brakes, any snow stuck on your roof will blow onto your windshield. Or when you hit the gas, you can blind anyone behind you with snow onto their car. 

  1. Put your windshield wipers up when you park your car, front and back. 

A trick I learned from my parents was to put my windshield wipers up before leaving my car if it’s going to snow or freeze. As it gets colder outside, ice forms from built-up snow, which can cause your wipers to stick to the window. To avoid this issue, pull both your front wipers and your back wiper off of the window. Along with your wipers, check that your car has the proper wiper fluid, to avoid it freezing, generally, you’re looking for “de-icer” in the title!

  1. Prepare for the worst, expect the best.

No matter how short or long of a trip you’re taking, there’s always a likelihood you’ll get stuck on the roads or on Snoqualmie Pass. To prepare for the worst, grab a blanket, some snacks and spare water bottles for your car at all times. To prepare for the best, pack some warm gloves if you’re naturally cold, and snow boots to keep your feet warm! Keep updated by signing up for WSDOT alerts by texting “WSDOT Snoqualmie” to 468311 or going to https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/mountainpasses/Snoqualmie to check Snoqualmie Pass. 

  1. Check the roads carefully, and test your brakes!

Along with always carrying chains, it’s important to be careful on the roads. Make sure you’re making no sudden turns, and don’t suddenly brake or accelerate quickly, any sudden movements can cause sliding! If you don’t have chains or aren’t able to put them on, you can also invest in AutoSocks, or check what is permitted by the Department of Transportation!