(Wampsville – Nov. 16, 2017) Winter weather can be dangerous if you are not prepared. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office asks that drivers start to prepare for the upcoming winter months in now, since the first lake effect snow event is forecast this coming weekend. New York state is known for its cold, snowy and icy winters, especially in upstate New York; however, every part of the state is vulnerable to big snow and ice storms and bitter cold.
Acting Sheriff John Ball says the best advice for driving in bad winter weather is to avoid it if at all possible. Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. Ball also stated that paying close attention to the radio and television is essential, for up to date weather advisories that affect our area.
If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle road conditions. Always allow yourself plenty of extra time in your travels, even if you consider yourself a seasoned driver, always share the route you will be taking to your destination with someone else, and carry your fully charged cell phone with you if you have one in case of an emergency.
Maintain your car: Check battery, tire tread and windshield wipers; keep your windows clear, put windshield wiper antifreeze fluid in the washer reservoir and check your antifreeze. If you use studded snow tires, New York state allows use only between Oct. 15 and May 1. Have your mechanic check out your vehicle if you are unable to do so.
Have on hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone with charger.
Stopped or stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.
Plan your route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if necessary), be familiar with the maps/directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.
Practice Cold-Weather Driving
- During the daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot.
- Steer into a skid.
- Know what your brakes will do: stomp on antilock brakes, pump non-antilock brakes.
- Stopping distances are longer on water-covered ice and ice.
- Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.
- Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
- Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.
- Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.
- Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving. If you are planning to drink, designate a sober driver – have a plan!
- Slow down and increase distances between cars.
- Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road.
- Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours and rotate drivers if possible.
The Sheriff said the National Weather Service will be issuing daily public information statements all next week. These Public Information Statements and more information on winter preparedness may be found at weather.gov/bgm/wwaw. The Weather Service will also post information on winter preparedness to facebook.com/NWSBinghamton and twitter.com/NWSBinghamton.