As many drivers had trouble driving in the recent snowstorm, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is reminding all New Yorkers to drive cautiously this winter.
Snowplows, responsible for clearing over 35,000 miles of New York roads this season, can be dangerous to unaware motorists.
“The Thruway Authority’s snowplow operators have the important task of keeping the Thruway clear of snow and ice during the winter season so that motorists can safely reach their destinations, but motorists are asked to drive responsibly by remaining attentive in inclement weather,” stated New York State Thruway Authority executive director Michael R. Fleischer. “While it is true the safest place to drive during a snowstorm is in the lane a plow has just cleared, motorists should always maintain a safe following distance behind the plow; never tailgate.”
Snowplow operators tend to have difficulty seeing the rear of the plow. Drivers are urged to keep a distance back. Passing in front of them normally means driving in unplowed snow, a hazard to any driver.
The NYSDOT has about 1,400 snowplows out during the winter season. Approximately one million tons of salt and other anti-icing chemicals are used to prevent severe road blockage during the winter. This winter, the NYSDOT is spending $284 million to keep roads clear during snowstorms.
“The Department of Transportation strives to keep our roadways as safe as possible, but motorists must remember to use caution when driving during winter storms, as snow and ice may quickly accumulate on road and bridge surfaces,” said Stanley Gee, the NYSDOT acting commissioner. “Snow plows are an essential tool in snow and ice removal, but they are also huge, heavy machines that are not easily maneuvered and therefore it is important for drivers to keep a safe distance behind and never attempt to pass snow plows.”
There are many ways to drive cautiously this season:
? As a driver, you always want to stay a reasonable distance from other vehicles.
? Before driving, keep someone informed on where you’re going and how you’re getting there.
? Expect it to take longer than usual to get where you’re going.
? If you get snowbound, remain calm and don’t leave your vehicle.
? Keep emergency supplies in your car such as water, flares, a flashlight, extra clothes, booster cables and a cell phone.
“If you absolutely must drive in winter conditions to get to an important appointment, or commitment, make certain to follow the guidance provided by NYSDOT,” said Michael Burgess, director of the New York State Office for the Aging. “If you can reschedule until the roads are clear, then do so. With the excellent work done by dedicated workers across the state, the wait will not be long,”
You can call the NYSDOT’s 5-1-1 phone service or visit www.511ny.org for travel advisory.
Check out the web site to find out which state roads are snow covered, ice covered, wet, dry, and experiencing whiteout conditions or closed before leaving home. The web site gives real time snow and ice conditions for interstates and other heavily traveled roads.
The NYSDOT web site, https://www.nysdot.gov/programs/driver-safety, can give you tips for driving safely this winter as well as videos to help you drive safer this season.