Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Getting ready for winter

The leaves are almost off the trees and there is a chill in the air. Winter is fast approaching. The west side had one windstorm already this year, reinforcing what we know from last years storms -- preparedness pays off.

We are taking steps to make sure that our crews are ready to clear the roads, and that we can keep you informed at a moments notice in the event of a storm. But that's only half the battle. Taking simple steps to prepare could save you much hassle and headache, and give you peace of mind during that next storm.

Here is some of my favorite advice, gleaned from recent preparedness materials that I read.

  1. Don't get out of your car if you are near a recent avalanche. Your chances of being found are much better if you are inside of your car.
  2. Don't use a gas oven for heat, or light up the barbecue inside your home. Surprisingly, this was one of the hardest learned lessons from last year's windstorms. It was astounding how many people tried heating their homes or cooking inside, and ended up with carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. Fill your car’s gas tank, especially if you know snow is in the forecast.
  4. Pack an emergency kit in the trunk of your car, and one for your home.
  5. Create a family plan, and one for your kids (pdf). The kids will appreciate the contact-in-case-of-emergency cards. My kids carry them in their school backpacks, and they feel safer knowing they are able to contact me whenever they need to.
  6. Talk to your employer in advance so you know what’s expected of you in a snow storm. Can you stay home with your kids?
  7. Get a radio that allows you to stay informed. At the very least, the radio will give you and your family something to listen to while you play cards when the power goes out.

I hope you find these as helpful as I did. Take the time to prepare, it's worth it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nasty Weather – Help Decide How You Are Alerted About Weather Conditions

The graph survey was so successful we’ve been asked to try out another. This one is for weather reporting. Be prepared, however, this survey is a tad, em, shall we say, “involved.” It takes few minutes to fill out.

All the same, the point of the survey makes it worth doing. And that point is to improve the way we report how weather is affecting highway travel – highway travelers and commercial vehicle companies. The survey also solicits feedback from the professionals who plan highway maintenance. All the right people to ask.

The survey sponsor, North/West Passage, is a team of eight states working together to improve weather reporting on highways in Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The survey runs until the end of January. Give them a hand – and fill out the online survey today!

Friday, October 12, 2007

You be the judge...

Thanks again for taking the time to offer your opinion. As of Tuesday, October 23rd we have closed the poll and the Vertical Graph is the winner by a nose. Thanks to your feedback (almost 800 votes), we will use this style of graph when we publish the best time to travel during the next holiday weekend. Even though the poll is closed we still welcome your comments letting us know which one works better for you. Thanks!

Original Post:
We have used several different styles of graphics to display the best time to travel during holiday weekends. Planning ahead by leaving a little later or leaving a little earlier will help you avoid peak travel times and arrive at your destination with minimum delay. We are hoping you could take some time and let us know which of these graphs helps you make that decision with the greatest of ease.

Which one is easiest to read? Which one makes more sense?

The Color Band Graph:

The Horizontal Graph:

The Vertical Graph:

The Clock View:

We are always looking to improve and we appreciate you taking the time to do this.