*Written by Trooper Kyle Yarbrough

This weekend is a big one for many reasons. There is a huge football game, winter is in full swing, and the weather is primed for adventure in our beautiful state. Before you head out though, there are some things you need to consider and plan for.

Winter in Washington, and the entire northwest can be cold and icy. While it makes for great skiing and snowmen, it can make for treacherous driving too. Before you load the kids or your skis into the family car, you need to make sure you’re ready to go! That means having a plan on how you are getting there, checking the weather for where you are going and ensuring that your family and vehicle are prepped for an emergency or delay. You need to check your vehicle, including tires, oil, and fuel. Have some snacks and the appropriate clothing and chargers should you get stuck. Lastly, you should check the weather and road conditions in case you need to change up your trip.

If you’re staying closer to home to spend time with family or watch the big game, there are some boxes you need to check as well. While you’re out and about make sure that you drive for the traffic and weather conditions. That means slow down, increase your following distance and keep your eye out for other motorist and emergency crews. If your plans include alcohol make sure they don’t include driving. If you drink, let someone else do the driving. Coordinate to stay where you celebrate, have a designated driver, or use mass transit or a ride share. Driving Under the Influence is a serious crime, and can change your life, or someone else’s forever. Have a great time but do it responsibly.

Be safe this weekend. Whether you’re with your family, watching the game, or shredding the back country make sure you’re ready get there and have a safe time!