It looks like snow and freezing rain are finally arriving in all parts of our state. Here are a few winter weather driving tips if you're new to Idaho. Suppose you've been here for some time. It's always good to review these safety tips.

AAA has shared some driving tips for us in a recent release. Unfortunately, in Idaho, we have to use the roads whether it's snowing or not. One industry that benefits from nearly half a million crashes per year are the auto body industry. AAA reports that we lose 2,000 folks a year due to automobile crashes in the winter.

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Idaho is one of the largest geographical states in the country. It's not uncommon to enjoy the sunshine in one part of the state while traveling to another part in the middle of a blizzard—checking the forecast for your area and the one you are traveling to should be done before hitting the road.

Should you buy studded tires or chains?

"Now is a good time to explore your options for traction control. Winter and studded snow tires have deep grooves to wick away snow and ice, and they stay soft and flexible even in colder conditions. Tire chains or tire socks are also great to have when the roads get slick," says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. "Choose the traction devices that match your winter driving patterns and comfort level."

Let's review some of the safety tips from AAA:

Remember the saying from driver's ed about driving defensively? AAA says to be alert to expect the unexpected like potholes, tree limbs, and sliding vehicles in the winter months.

Your GPS can't know all the road conditions. If a road looks like it's not well maintained, find another route.  Avoid distractions by not calling and texting while driving on the roads. It's time to get your car winterized by replacing windshield wipers and engine fluids and ensuring no leaks in your hoses. Another suggestion is to make sure your battery is ready for the tiring winter season.

Snow and ice should be removed from your lights, windows, and roof before you begin driving. How many times have we seen folks driving down the road with limited vision? Don't be a danger to yourself and others.

Get your tires checked for wear and tread. AAA says that tires should be replaced with less than 3/32" of the tread. They suggest the 'quarter test' "which is to turn a quarter upside down in the tread of your tire. If you can see the top of George Washington's head, it's time to think about replacing the tire." If your car is sliding for some reason, keep steering your car in the direction you want to go, says AAA.

What to do if you're in a car crash?

AAA says, if you're involved in a crash, stay with your vehicle if it's safe to do so. Keep your distance from other motorists and use your cell phone to photograph damage and exchange insurance information. Flash your emergency lights. If you need to occasionally run the engine to keep warm while you wait for help, make sure the tailpipe is clear.

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