This month, we offer tips to help drivers navigate the dangers posed by snow, ice and colder temperatures, as well as some early advice for the upcoming holiday season.
Winter Driving Tips
Thousands of motorists find themselves stranded each winter, due to extreme weather – which can result in injuries, frostbite, and even death. Still others face frustrating delays as other drivers have to be towed or pushed out of a snowbank. Most of these situations can be avoided if you follow these suggestions.
Stay off the road when traveler’s warnings are issued. When police and weather officials issue winter storm “alerts,” they mean business and they’re talking to you. Many motorists wind up stranded on highways because they leave home or work after being warned roads are impassible.
Or… Stay where you are. If you’re away from home and road conditions suddenly become impassible, stay put. As much as you might want to get home, you could end up stuck in a snowdrift in freezing conditions. Don’t bet your life (or anyone’s life) on a four-wheel drive vehicle. In a blizzard, you’re not much better off than someone in a conventional car, especially if they’re home and you’re up to your axles in snow.
Winterize your vehicle before the snow starts flying. Many motorists find themselves stuck or stranded because of car trouble that could have been avoided by simple preventive maintenance. The following items should be checked before the first snow hits and service stations are jammed:
- Battery charge and condition
- Radiator coolant, hoses and the thermostat
- Wiper blades and washer fluid
- Get an oil change and use winter-grade oil
- Spark plugs, engine timing
- Tire inflation and tread
- Defroster and heater
- Headlights, taillights and turn signals
- Brake condition and possible adjustment
Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is deadly. The following advice will help avoid the risk of having noxious fumes leak into your car’s cabin.
- Do not leave the motor running in a garage.
- Do not leave the motor running and windows closed while waiting for a job.
- Do not use the heater or air conditioner while parked with closed windows.
- Do not leave your vents open when following closely behind another vehicle.
- Do not operate a vehicle with a defective muffler or exhaust system.
- Make sure snow is not blocking your exhaust pipes; it will send carbon monoxide fumes back into your vehicle.
Holiday Safety Tips
At the end of this month, Thanksgiving will mark the beginning of the “holiday season,” which can add an extra 100,000 vehicles to NYC traffic daily.
- Be patient and courteous to other motorists to avoid road rage incidents. They also may park their car and became a potential customer.
- Tourism boosts the city’s economy. During these difficult times, it’s essential to show visitors how much we appreciate them by being helpful and friendly.
- Plan your holiday dinner at the end of a work shift. Large meals can make you drowsy, which can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.
- Remember: New York City Traffic Department agents have the authority to issue summons for “blocking the box.”
- Historically, there is an annual spike in the number of drunk drivers during the holidays. Stay alert and be prepared to use your defensive driving skills.