Preparing for winter driving

Local News

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The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) have put out some helpful tips to help New Yorkers winterize their vehicles and prepare for icy and snow-covered roads. “A few simple practices like driving slow, making sure your lights are clear and not covered with ice or snow, having ample windshield washer fluid, for example, will help ensure your safety and the safety of others on the roads.” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and GTSC Chair. The agencies also reminded motorists that they can install snow tires on their vehicles as state law allows the use of snow tires from October 16 through April 30.

Before driving, GTSC recommends these tips:

  • Check tire tread.
  • Fill the gas tank.
  • Clear/clean all lights and windows.
  • Fill the windshield washer reservoir.
  • Remove all snow and ice including on top of the vehicle.
  • Ensure the vehicle’s heater and defroster are working properly.
  • Make sure the recommended amount of antifreeze is in the radiator.
  • Get familiar with a new vehicle before driving in harsh weather conditions.

When ready to drive, follow these tips:

  • Warm up the car so the defroster clears the windows.
  • Turn on headlights whenever windshield wipers are on. New York State law makes this mandatory.
  • Do not exceed the speed limit and always adjust speed to the road conditions.
  • Leave plenty of room between vehicles.
  • Don’t try to pass or weave in and out of traffic. All drivers must be prepared to react if other drivers start to slide.
  • Do not drive during ice or snow storms unless it is necessary.
  • When sleet, freezing rain or snow begin to fall, remember that bridges, ramps and overpasses will freeze first. Be aware that slippery spots may remain after snow is removed.

The National Highway Safety Administration also offers winter driving tips and suggests keeping these supplies in the vehicle:

  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper
  • Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case the vehicle gets stuck in the snow
  • Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers
  • Blankets
  • A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas)

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