a beautiful time of the year, especially when a fresh layer of new snow
also be a very dangerous time of the year. If you plan on traveling
during the winter, it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. Getting
stranded during a winter storm can be a very dangerous situation.
friends at AlfredNY.Biz want you to enjoy the beautiful season of
winter. With that in mind, we have developed this information to provide
some basic safety tips when traveling on roads and highways this season.
Following a few simple driving habits like planning ahead, driving at a
safe and legal speed, driving alert and sober and buckling up should
ensure that you arrive at your destination safely.
Safe winter driving tips
Do Not Drink & Drive!
snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof –
before driving. It's the law.
attention. Don’t try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted
speed limits are for dry pavement.
plenty of room for stopping.
room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet
and don’t pass on the right.
current road conditions. You can click into our
weather page and type the zip code of your departing location and
your destination location to check for weather conditions.
brakes carefully. Brake early. Don’t stomp on the brakes apply them
gently and slowly for vehicles equipped with antilock brakes or pump
them gently in vehicles with no antilock brakes. Remember, it takes
more time to stop in adverse conditions.
Don’t Pump Antilock Brakes. If your car is equipped with anti-lock
brakes, do not pump brakes while attempting to stop. The right way is
to “step gently and steer".
over steer! If you should start to slide - steer gently in the
direction you wish the car to go. Don't jerk the wheel - just steer it
smoothly. Over steering or jerking the wheel can make the car even
more unstable like increasing arcs of a swinging pendulum.
car starts to slide - remain calm, take your foot off the accelerator,
steer into the skid and if necessary apply the brakes
for slippery bridge decks, even when the rest of the pavement is in
good condition. Bridge decks will ice up sooner than the adjacent
use your cruise control in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear
clear can have sudden slippery spots and the short touch of your
brakes to deactivate the cruise control feature can cause you to lose
control of your vehicle.
get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that your four-wheel
drive vehicle may help you get going quicker than other vehicles but
it won’t help you stop any faster. Many 4x4 vehicles are heavier than
passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stop. Don’t get
overconfident with your 4x4 vehicle’s traction. Your 4x4 can lose
traction as quickly as a two-wheel drive vehicle.
farther ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and
trucks will alert you quicker to problems and gives you that
split-second extra time to safely react.
that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely
respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front
Drive according to conditions.
Prepare your vehicle for winter driving
transportation is especially important in the winter. Not only should
you keep your vehicle in top operating condition all year round - for
safety and fuel economy - it is especially important to get it
winterized to avoid any unpleasant or dangerous situations while
traveling in frigid weather.
fill the gasoline tank before entering open country, even for a short
distance, and stop to fill up long before the tank begins to run low.
Keeping your tank as full as possible will minimize condensation thus
reducing the risk of gas line freezing and providing the maximum
advantage in case of trouble.
citizens band (CB) radio and/or cellular phone can be very useful to
you or another stranded motorist in case of an emergency.
with your headlights on.
your car with basic winter driving equipment: a scraper and brush,
small shovel, jumper cables, tow chain and a bag of sand or cat litter
for tire traction.
road flares, a blanket, heavy boots, warm clothing, and flashlight
Check your route
road and travel conditions at our weather page
for real-time weather conditions and forecasts. Just type in your zip
code or the zip code of your destination and pertinent stops along the
Click Here to check Interstate Forecasts at The Weather Channel
radio stations provide motorists with specific road conditions.
Allow extra time
yourself some extra time to reach your destination. Roadways get slick
when freezing air circulates above it. Remember bridges and overpasses
typically freeze before other road surfaces so you don’t want to do any
hard braking or quick accelerations. When snow falls statewide, time and
resources are focused on the most heavily traveled state routes and
interstates first, so motorists in rural areas may not see a snowplow
of Lake Effect Snow Belt Areas
Lake effect storms can
produce lines or belts of squalls that can severely impact driving
conditions in areas otherwise thought to be safe for driving. You could
drive a short distance and in our area of Western New York and go from
clean roads with good visibility to heavy squalls, snow covered roads
and blowing and drifting snows limiting visibility. Check for
advisories in areas known to be traditional "snow belt" areas.
In New York State the bare minimum for
legal tread depth is 1/8" (2/32) of tread. We advise that you don't let
the tread on your tires dip below 5 or 6/32 of tread for driving on snow
covered roads. A new tire will have between 10/32 and 12/32 of tread
when it is installed - big difference in saftey. Approved
traction tires are labeled “Mud and Snow,” “M+S,” “MS,” or “All Season.” These
tires can be used year-round.
tires are an option but are only legal between November 15 and March 15
(check state laws to be certain).
should be used if you own a front wheel drive vehicle and are
considering installing studded winter tires. While increasing
traction to the drive wheels installing studded tires on the front of
the vehicle can actually reduce the vehicle's handling drastically. The
front tire grip so much quicker than the rear tires that the vehicle may
behave poorly and fishtail (become "rear ended") when cornering.
chains are also an option and come in many varieties such as “cross
link,” and/or “cable chains,” and plastic or nylon chains. Most are
legal for passenger vehicles when used properly. Again, caution should
be used when installing these types of traction enhancers as well as
driving on them. Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions and use
good judgment as to a safe place to be parked when applying them.
Parking areas are much more advisable than roadsides when installing
winter months and colder temperatures come the potential for icy build
ups on windshields and lights. Anti-Icing windshield additives and spray
deicer are good to have on hand for these types of icing.
chemicals lower the freezing point of water, which in turn, lowers the
temperature at which ice will form in lines and on surfaces.
Wash your car
your vehicle clean during the winter keeps snow, rock salt and road
grime from caking on your head and taillights, which makes it easier for
you to see and be seen. Anti-icing chemicals can cause corrosion so you
want to wash them from your vehicle. All the chemicals are water-soluble
so rinse your vehicle thoroughly before applying soap. If towing
aluminum boats or trailers, be sure to wash them, too.
windows clean as well both inside and out for maximum visibility. We
even carry a small bottle of window cleaner to clean headlights,
taillights and side windows periodically to remove road spray and road
grime and increase lighting and visibility.
travel in adverse conditions unless it is absolutely necessary. A little
common sense and some good judgment go a long way toward keeping you and
your loved ones safe.
carefully and arrive safely!