Did you know that simply driving your car can, in some instances, be the means of starting a wildfire?

In an effort to reduce that risk, especially as more people will be on Idaho roads for the upcoming solar eclipse, the Idaho Transportation Department offers tips to avoid accidentally starting a fire.

The department reminds travelers of the following:

1. Before leaving, look under your car and check for hanging parts. Mufflers often get knocked loose and can hang low to the ground. If you see something hanging down, tie it up. These parts can skip on pavement and shower sparks on grasses alongside the roadway.

2. If you are towing a trailer or camper, ensure safety chains are fastened and not dragging. Bumps in the road can cause hanging chains to hit the ground and spark.

3. Don’t drive or park on tall grass. The exterior of your engine or exhaust can get up to 2,800°F. Contact with dry grass can easily start a fire. [See the video below from the U.S. Forest Service.]

4. Don’t throw out lit cigarettes. When you’re done with a cigarette, make sure the end is completely put out and cool to the touch. Otherwise, you’re throwing a small fire onto a big pile of tinder.

“By checking your car before you leave and making smart choices on the road, you can help ensure this experience (of viewing the solar eclipse) stays wildfire free,” the department says.

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