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Driving Safely During Idaho Winter

Snow. Ice. Wind. And sometimes (because it’s Idaho) the perfect storm: all three at once! Driving in the Winter comes with a learning curve. Below are a few tips and reminders to help you travel safely this season in Boise County.
-Check the weather forecast. Even if you can't change your travel plans by a day or two, changing your driving schedule by an hour or two can make a huge difference when it comes to your safety and road conditions. If you are unsure of what the roads might be like, check with a local about where you're planning to drive through. Garden Valley locals are always quick to share updates on Facebook about the road conditions.
-Beware of changing weather and black ice. If the weather bounces above freezing and then below it again you could have snow turning to water and then to ice. This makes for dangerous conditions and possibly black ice, which is a layer of ice so thin that it's transparent and therefore difficult to see.
-Slow down! When the roads have snow, ice, slush, or worse, black ice on them, your car will take longer to slow and stop. Year after year, we see that many of the vehicles that end up in the ditch are those with four-wheel drive. One of the biggest lessons about driving in the snow Is that over-confidence and speeding can work against your safety when driving in winter.
-Never pass a snowplow! If you get stuck behind a snowplow, be patient and stay there. If they are pushing snow out of the way, it can be very dangerous to pass them and you most likely will not be driving much faster than them anyways.
-Sand or kitty litter. Going someplace where the snow will be a real challenge? Pack a bag of sand or kitty litter to put under your power wheels to help you out of a slippery spot.
- Windshield wipers. Swap them out for a new pair if you need to. This is important as worn out wipers will smear ice on your windshield rather than clean it off.
-Fill up your gas tank often. It’s a good idea to not let your gas gauge drop much below half a tank. It can be annoying to make more stops for gas than usual but if you break down, you'll be glad you get to keep the heater on in your car.
-Keep your lights on. Always have your lights on for winter driving so that you are more visible from the front and from behind. Visibility helps prevent accidents caused by others. When you stop for gas clean off your front and rear lights… They may have become covered in snow and slush as you traveled.
-Use low beams in storms. If you're driving in a snow storm, only use your low beams. You may be tempted to turn on your high beams because instinct says you will be able to see better but, in fact, high beams will cause a reflection off the snowflakes and make visibility more difficult.
-Don't use cruise control. You need total control of your car so don't turn it over to technology when the roads are not clear.
-Pull over safely. If the weather gets really bad or you find yourself uncomfortable driving in the current conditions, find a safe place to pull over. You’ll be lad you have that extra gas in your car from the tip above to keep you warm while you wait it out ??

Winter Car Safety Kit!

As winter sets in and the snow starts to pile, the roads in Boise County can become hazardous. If you have an unexpected emergency, you’re going to want to have a winter survival kit for your car.

In Boise County, there are stretches of road that travel through remote mountains and along the river where you cannot rely on cell phone services. When the temperatures drop and the roads get slick, accidents happen.

Whether you run off the road during a blizzard, break down on a snowy forest service road, or blow a tire in the middle of the night, you may be far from help. In the event of an emergency, you could be stuck for extended periods of time in cold and wintry weather conditions.

Every driver needs to be prepared for the unexpected. The best thing you can do is to make a winter survival kit for your car. A winter survival kit can help you survive in the event of an emergency. It’s one of those things that you will probably never need, but if you ever do, you’ll be very thankful that you made one and left it in your vehicle during the winter season.

It is easy to make a winter survival kit for your car. Here are the items that drivers should carry in their vehicle during the winter season:

?    Road Flares/Reflective Triangles
?    Headlamp with Fresh Batteries
?    Gorilla Tape
?    Metal Shovel
?    Phone Charger with Full Charge
?    Old Cell Phone
?    Jumper Cables
?    Paper Maps
?    Multi Tool
?    First Aid Kit
?    Brush/Scraper
?    Cat Litter/Sand
?    Fuel Container
?    Tool Kit
?    Book
?    Snacks/Food
?    Extra Medications (If Necessary)
?    Rags
?    Trash Bags
?    Down Jacket/Hat/Gloves and additional warm clothes
?    Sleeping Bag/Blanket
?    Water
?    Lighter/Matches
?    Candle
?    Tow Straps
?    Cord/Rope
?    Tissues/Napkins
?    Extra Fuses
?    Windshield Wiper Fluid
?    Satellite Messaging Device - These things can save your life by allowing you to send text messages from literally anywhere on the globe.

Japanese Yew - Be Careful!

It’s that time of year when everyone is gearing up for the Christmas Season!  I know, we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet, but there you have it.  With that being said, there is something you need to watch for when purchasing greenery to decorate the outside of your house.
Japanese Yew is a very commonly used greenery in Christmas Wreaths and garland as it has beautiful red berries.  However, it is deadly for our wildlife.  Ingesting even a small amount can kill a large Elk.   Please be aware of what you are decorating with this upcoming season.

Here are some links for more information:


An Attitude of Gratitude!

Most of us have come to think of Thanksgiving as an opportunity to express our gratitude for the prosperity in our lives, whether that's the relationships we have with our friends and families, our opportunities, our health—and to stuff ourselves with mashed potatoes, of course!

For many of us, this year has been full of challenges. We have faced uncertainty, unknowns and plenty of changes. As we head in to the month of November, and the beginning of the holiday season may we all make an effort to focus daily on what we are thankful for. May we try to foster an attitude of gratitude.

Be Thankful
Poet Unknown

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary, because it means you've made a difference.
It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.

Getting Ready for Winter in the Idaho Mountains

Now that the leaves are changing colors and the mornings are more crisp it is a great idea to cross off some important items on your to-do list that are specific to getting your home and property ready for winter in the mountains!

Tune Up Your Heat
You read that right, before you turn up your heat you will want to tune up your heat! If you are using a propane or electric furnace to heat your home, schedule an inspection to ensure your unit is working efficiently and properly. Getting an inspection done in the fall when you are not relying on the system for daily heat may save you time, cost, and headaches mid-winter! Remember to replace your filters too! These things never go out at a convenient time, so get ahead of repairs with maintenance. If you use a wood stove or a pellet stove the same theory applies. You will want to make sure your chimney is  well-cleaned, and your wood stove or pellet stove is in good working condition going into the winter months. Cleaning your chimney is especially important, as it is not only a matter of efficiency but is also a matter of safety.

Turn Ceiling Fans Clockwise
Heat rises, and in homes in our area high ceilings are common. For efficient heating and more controlled temperatures throughout your home, switch your fan to run the blades clockwise. This will push the heated air away from the ceiling and down into the room. Well circulated air creates better temperature control and will leave you feeling cozier.

Check Your Roof
In the mountains it is common to have a metal roof, which allows the snow to slide off and is easy to maintain. When the snow slid off your roof last winter there is a chance that it loosened up some screws in the process. Visually inspect your roof or hire a local contractor to come take a look for you. Keeping those screws snug will help prevent snow and ice from catching in those areas, which could ultimately prevent the snow from sliding altogether. If you have a home with a shingled roof you will want to look for shingles that are damaged, loose, or missing. You can hire a handyman to repair a few shingles if you do not feel up to the task yourself. Knowing your roof is ready for winter is a great comfort when the forecast calls for lots of snow!

Tidy Up
When the snow starts coming down in the mountains there is a good chance you will not see the ground again for several months. When you are shoveling pathways or plowing your driveway you do not want to run into something hidden under the snow. Store away garden hoses, sprinklers, outdoor toys, patio sets, garden pots, and everything else that you can. It might take a day to do it, but you will be able to bring it all back out again once the snow melts, confident it is still in good condition.

There are more items that can be taken care of before the snow flies, but this will give you a good start. If you would like recommendations for having any of these services done, please feel free to contact our office as we would be happy to help! Now, get ready to cozy up and enjoy a beautiful, white winter in the mountains!

The Mountains!
Are Calling!
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