With the changing seasons, the increased hazards of winter driving will soon arrive, and State Police Troop “B” Commander Major Richard C. Smith Jr. is reminding drivers of the potential difficulty of driving in a North Country winter.
“Winter is coming and with it the hazards of snow, ice and cold temperatures,” Smith said. “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.
“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 suggested that drivers adjust their attitude in winter conditions. Attitude is the most important factor in safe driving, he said, and a good attitude means putting safety first and focusing attention on driving.
He also suggested preparing your vehicle for the winter season by checking the following items:
• Windshield wipers and non-freezing windshield wash
• Headlights and tail lamps
• Heater and defroster
• All hoses and belts
• Tires - good tread is a must.
• Battery and alternator
• Engine oil
• Jack, lug wrench, and spare tire.
• Consider having an engine tune up and having the brakes and exhaust checked.
In the event that you might get stranded, some of these items would be useful:
• Blanket or sleeping bag
• Warm gloves and hand warmers
• First aid kit
• Hat or stocking cap
• Insulated footwear
• Bag of salt
• Tow rope
• Ice scraper and snowbrush.
Before starting on a trip:
• 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. Don’t start to drive if you only have a small area of the windshield clear.
• Consider letting a friend or relative know where you are going and when you expect to arrive.
• Leave plenty of time to arrive at work or appointments without having to rush.
Driving on snow or ice:
• Slow down. Adjust your speed to the existing conditions.
• 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
• Always wear your seat belt.