With winter weather right around the corner, the New York State Police and AAA have teamed up to offer some tips and advice for winter driving.
The state police and AAA urge all motorists to exercise due care when driving in winter conditions.
Motorists are asked to leave with extra time to make a slow and careful drive to your destination, and to take snow accumulation on the roads into consideration when you’re behind the wheel.
• Get the latest weather forecast before hitting the road.
• Always clean your windows and mirrors fully of snow and ice before driving.
• Keep a full tank of gas.
• Make sure your vehicle’s fluid levels are sufficient, including windshield washer fluid and anti-freeze.
• Make sure your spare tire is sufficient, and that you have a jack and wheel wrench.
• Use headlights at all times to increase your visibility to other drivers. If your windshield wipers are active, your headlights must be on.
• Decrease your speed when driving in winter weather.
• Brake early.
• Do not use cruise control. This decreases your reaction time when braking.
• Look for events farther down the road. Creating more time to react can make a difference.
• Do not brake and turn at the same time in winter conditions. Brake, then turn.
• Be aware of maintenance vehicles and emergency vehicles. Give them room to work.
• If you do not absolutely have to go out on the roads, then don’t.
According to AAA, roughly 46% of crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter, making this the worst time of year for driving in treacherous conditions.
“As we get our first dose of winter weather, motorists should prepare their cars and pack an emergency roadside kit complete with a cell phone charger or power bank. It’s important to use winter driving skills as slick roads create dangerous situations,” said Elizabeth Carey, public relations director at AAA WCNY.
“During storm conditions, AAA will prioritize emergencies when responding to service calls. We urge all drivers to obey all travel advisories and use caution when traveling.”
Inside your vehicle, AAA advises having gloves, blankets, warmers, a tool kit, a first-aid kit, non-perishable foods, water, a working flashlight, batteries and a cell phone charge, along with a shovel, ice scraper, de-icer, snow brush, rock salt or cat litter, a tow chain or cable, jumper cables or a battery charger.
If you accidentally drive off the roadway and are stuck in a snow bank or ditch, AAA advises you to stay in your vehicle and call 9-1-1.
Do not exit your vehicle unless it is an absolute emergency, because you put yourself at risk for getting hit by other oncoming vehicles.
If you are stranded in the snow for a period of time, roll down your window a few inches or turn off your vehicle. If you leave your vehicle running and your muffler gets blocked with snow, this can lead to serious injury or death due to carbon monoxide.
Always be aware of your location and the name of the road you are on in case you need to tell emergency responders where to find you. If you get stuck on the Thruway, try to be aware of the mile markers.
The state police have up-to-the-minute information on road closures and weather alerts on their Twitter page @nyspolice. The Thruway Authority has also information for travelers at their website www.Thruway.ny.gov.