So you're wanting to breathe that fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors. It's a fantastic idea and there is SO much space to do so, so why is everyone crowding the same areas?

The WSDOT is asking for help from the community when it comes to your outdoor adventures. Crowds aren't unusual during this time of year but they are much larger than normal due to the pandemic.

Those higher numbers mean more crowding at popular recreation areas and this poses serious safety concerns. It also is preventing our crews from clearing some roadways and passes. With several more months of winter ahead of us, we're asking all travelers to help us keep everyone along our roadways, exit ramps and interchanges safe.

I totally get it, you're excited and the drive was long, you don't want to turn around. Others are parking on the side of the road and walking so you're going to do the same thing, but the WSDOT is saying please don't do that.

Not only is walking on the side of a highway super dangerous any time of year the plows are having trouble clearing the roads due to your car parked in areas it isn't supposed to be.

Sledding is such a fun adventure but adding a death-defying stunt like sledding next to a busy road is just asking for an accident. Do you think people aren't doing that? You are wrong. A lot of them are, and everyone needs to be a bit more aware of where you are choosing to slide, please.

So, what can you do to help lower these risks?

Here are the tips from the WSDOT

  • Plan your trips ahead of time – and have a Plan B if your first choice is full. Simply driving until you see snow isn't always safe, especially if there is no designated parking area. Some areas also may not be developed due to avalanche or other risks that aren't immediately apparent.

  • Find safe places to recreate. State parks as well as local parks can be a good option to explore the outdoors – check state park sites and safety tips online. If visiting ski areas, check ahead to see if they have limits or new safety procedures due to the pandemic.

  • Check conditions and know your limits. Heavy snow can increase avalanche dangers. Check the Northwest Avalanche Center for forecasts and alerts and be sure to carry safety supplies with you. If you're not used to outdoor snow activities, research risks and needed skills, or consider a less risky alternative.

  • Do not park or walk along highway shoulders. Hate to sound like a broken record here, but this is not safe for you or passing motorists.

  • Pack extra supplies. Whether it's due to a road closure, vehicle trouble or other issue, it's always a good idea to have extra food, warm clothing and other supplies during winter travel. Not sure what you need? Check out our online winter supplies list for suggestions.


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