In light of the Saturday forecast of mixed rain and snow, the state Department of Transportation is advising motorists to anticipate difficult driving and to use caution.
The National Weather Service is predicting a mixture of rain and snow throughout the afternoon Saturday, with a high near 38 degrees. The precipitation is likely to become all snow after 8 p.m., the service says.
For real-time travel information, motorists can access the department's free traffic and travel information system by calling 511 or visiting www.511NY.org. The website features a winter travel advisory system with real-time travel reports and a color-coded map indicating which state roads are snow covered, ice covered, wet or closed. The system provides real-time snow and ice conditions for interstates and other heavily traveled roads, as reported by snowplow operators.
When using 511NY, drivers must be aware that talking on a cell phone and texting while driving are illegal and that distracted driving is particularly hazardous during snow and ice conditions. Users should consult 511NY before traveling, or have a passenger access the system.
Some of the most important tips for safe winter driving include:
· Never follow a snowplow too closely or attempt to pass one. Remember that the highway ahead of the plow is usually snow-covered.
· Adjust speed for road conditions and maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
· Schedule extra time for winter travel and be patient during ice and snow removal operations.
· Assume that bridge surfaces are slippery, as they freeze more quickly than road surfaces.
· Watch for black ice, which can be difficult to see but makes conditions slippery.
· Have a cell phone handy, if possible, but do not text while driving; distracted driving is illegal and becomes even more dangerous during storm events.
· Never venture from your vehicle if snowbound.
· Equip your car with emergency supplies including sand, shovel, flares, booster cables, rope, ice scraper, portable radio, flashlight, blankets and extra warm clothes.
· Inform a responsible person of your destination, intended route and estimated time of arrival.
· Keep calm and do not panic in case of a vehicle breakdown, accident, or if you become snowbound.
For up to date weather information visit our weather page.