February has descended upon us, and so has the snow. Long Islanders have already faced several treacherous snowstorms. The cold snowy weather conditions have posed significant threats to our safety as we try and go about our daily lives. With the roads seemingly covered with ice and snow all the time, travel has become significantly more dangerous. Here are some tips that can help keep you safe while driving during the wintery weather.
First, try to avoid driving during storms unless absolutely necessary. This not only reduces your risk of an accident, it allows our snow removal crews to effectively clean our roadways. Who can forget those pictures of stranded cars littering the Long Island Expressway during a major storm back in February 2014? The LIE looked like a snowy parking lot. Those vehicles seriously hindered cleanup efforts and made the roads unsafe for travel for longer than they needed to be. Further, the fewer vehicles on the roads the better job the snow removal crews are able to do. In the recent blizzard, officials went so far as to close the roads down entirely. While this may not always be the case, take a cue from their caution and avoid the roads during major storms.
Second, make sure you have safe tires on your vehicle. Safe travel on snowy slippery roads is all about the tires. Proper snow tires will enable your vehicle to grip the road better. Many vehicles these days are equipped with summer tires. These types of tires will not perform well in slippery cold conditions. Even the best all-wheel-drive vehicles will not be able to grip the road if equipped with summer tires.
Third, when driving an all-wheel-drive vehicle, be aware of its limitations. Many people are under the impression that if their vehicle is equipped with this function they are invincible in snowy weather. All-wheel-drive will help your vehicle travel up that snowy hill or move through a snow covered road, but it will not help you stop. That’s why it’s important to always drive slowly on snowy, icy roads.
Fourth, it’s important to make sure you can see when driving in bad weather. If your wiper blades are old or ineffective, it’s a good idea to get them replaced. Many companies offer winter wiper blades. Also, make sure that your car’s windshield-wiper dispenser is filled with wiper fluid and that it is operational. Often ice can block the opening of the dispenser, inhibiting the release of the fluid, so check before you start driving.
Once you have ensured safe travel for you and your family, try and enjoy the fun things winter weather has to offer, like snowmen, ice-skating and sledding!