RAY BROOK - The commander of New York State Police Troop B is reminding motorists that with the changing seasons, the increased hazards of winter driving will soon arrive.
"I know there are those of us who don't look forward to the coming of winter, nor do we look forward to driving under less than perfect conditions," Major Richard C. Smith Jr. said in a press release. "Winter is coming and with it the hazards of snow, ice and cold temperatures. However, there are a number of actions that each one of us as motor vehicle operators can take to make our winter driving safer for ourselves, and those with whom we share the road."
Smith said driver attitude is the most important factor in safe driving. A good attitude, he said, means putting safety first and focusing attention on driving.
Smith also recommended that motorists take steps to prepare their vehicles for winter driving. Those steps include checking antifreeze, windshield wipers, headlights and tail lamps, heaters and defrosters, hoses and belts, tires, battery and alternator and engine oil. He added that motorists should have a jack, lug wrench and spare tire, and consider having an engine tune up and having the brakes and exhaust checked.
In the event that a motorists gets stranded, Smith said they should also consider placing some of these items in the vehicle: a blanket or sleeping bag, flashlight, warm gloves and hand warmers, flares, first aid kit, hat or stocking cap, insulated footwear, shovel, bag of salt, tow rope, ice scraper and snow brush.
Before starting a trip, Smith said drivers should:
Check the weather forecast
Start your vehicle and allow it to warm up for a few moments
Clean all of the snow and ice from the entire vehicle
Ensure the windshield is clear of frost
Consider letting a friend or relative know where you are going and when you expect to arrive.
Smith said motorists should allow for plenty of time to arrive at work or appointments without having to rush.
When driving on snow or ice, Smith said motorists should slow down and adjust speed to weather conditions. He also recommended that drivers:
Increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you
Watch out for other drivers and scan the road ahead
Slow down prior to making a turn
Do not slam on the brakes
Do not use the cruise control
Steer smoothly without jerking the wheel