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NY State Police offers winter driving tips as snow starts to impact travel

The NYSP released these safety tips ahead of the first snowfall of the season.
Hazardous winter driving conditions

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As the roads start to get more slick thanks to incoming winter weather, the New York State Police and AAA are offering some winter driving tips to keep everybody safe while driving.

State Police units will be out across the WNY region checking major traffic routes to make sure drivers are as safe as possible. NYSP suggests that motorists leave with extra time to get to their destination and also to take snow accumulation, wind and visibility into your driving decisions. 

“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.” 

The groups also suggest having a bag full of supplies in the trunk in case a motorist gets stranded. They suggest having things like gloves, blankets, water, non-perishable foods, a flashlight and a cell phone charger. 

Here are some basic winter driving tips that the NYSP released: 

  • Get the latest weather forecast before leaving with your local weather apps, monitor radio or TV stations.
  • Always clean your windows and mirrors FULLY of any snow and ice before driving.
  • Keep a full tank of gas
  • Fluid levels are sufficient ( windshield washer fluid, anti-freeze)
  • Spare tire is sufficient and you have the jack and wheel wrench
  • Use headlights at all times to increase your visibility to others.  Remember, if your windshield wipers are in use due to weather, then your headlights must be on.
  • Drive prudently.  If the conditions are adverse, you should decrease your speed accordingly.
  • Brake early
  • Do NOT use cruise control.  This decreases your reaction time to apply braking.
  • Look out for events farther down the road.  Creating more time to react can make a difference.
  • 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.

AAA says nearly half of weather-related driving accidents happen in the winter, so it's important to stay alert. The organization released these tips to go along with the NYSP's. 

  • Top three winter driving tips: go slow, increase space between yourself and other vehicles, and brake smoothly – don’t brake and turn at the same time. Instead brake, then turn.
  • Obey all travel bans issued by authorities.

For drivers who get stuck in a snowbank or ditch, NYSP advises to stay in the vehicle and call 911. For more tips for winter travel, click here.