5-1-1 ... Your combination for safe travel

Safe winter travel in Idaho begins with a trip to Idaho’s 511 Traveler Services website or a phone call to the interactive 5-1-1 telephone system provided as a free service by the Idaho Transportation Department.

Information available through the Internet (511.idaho.gov) and the phone system provides drivers with information they need to make safe winter travel decisions, explains ITD’s Tony Ernest, travel services coordinator.

Information can be retrieved from conventional Internet web browsers, mobile devices (including smart phones, cell phones and tablets) and line-based telephones. Idaho’s 511 Traveler Services system is among the national leaders in sharing information on driving conditions.

The robust, constantly evolving system, helps motorists make wise and safe travel decisions by giving them access to a full array of condition reports, including highway and mountain pass reports, weather conditions, and access to more than 80 cameras strategically located throughout the state.

Ernest encourages drivers to check the system before leaving home – by visiting the 511 website or calling the 5-1-1 phone system.

“Checking before traveling will help drivers plan their route based on the latest information available. Our system is updated on a regular basis by equipment operators in the field; we also update the reports any time weather or highway conditions change significantly.”

Although information is accessible by mobile devices, Ernest advises drivers to focus their attention on the road and let passengers contact the system while en route.

“If you need to access the Traveler Services system while on the road, please let a passenger make the call or pull over to a safe place out of the traffic lane to call the system. Drivers should never access the system from behind the wheel,” he warned. “Winter driving demands your undivided attention, so call before you go.”

Ernest welcomes suggestions for improving the service. The best way to provide input is through the “Contact us” option on ITD’s website: itd.idaho.gov

Published 11-18-2011