The Massachusetts State Police urge motorists to be safe on the roads of the Commonwealth this winter. If possible, do not travel, or keep travel to a minimum during periods of winter weather in order to allow snow removal crews to clear the roadway. For those who need to drive in adverse winter weather conditions, the State Police recommend the following winter driving safety tips:
- Take Note of the Local Forecast: The State Police encourage motorists to take note of local forecasts and plan accordingly for adverse weather conditions. Motorists are reminded that they can dial 511 on their cell phones for current traffic and road conditions on Massachusetts Highways.
- Vehicle Preparation: With a forecast of inclement weather, motorists should ensure that their vehicles are well maintained and properly equipped for winter driving. Motorists should check the fluid levels of their vehicles, particularly washer fluid and anti-freeze, to make sure that they are at adequate levels. Tires should be inspected to ensure that they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth. Motorists should equip their vehicles with a snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flares, a flashlight and some warm clothing and blankets. Additionally, motorists are reminded to completely clear their vehicles of snow and ice prior to driving. Clearing vehicles of snow and ice enhances the safety of all motorists by providing an unobstructed view to the operator and prevents snow and ice from flying off vehicles at high speeds and posing a hazard to others on the road.
- Reduce Speed: Most winter weather related crashes are caused by "spin-outs" and vehicles sliding off the road due to excessive speeds for the road and weather conditions. Speed Limits are set for driving under optimal, dry conditions. If road and weather conditions are adverse, it may be more reasonable and proper to operate at a speed that is well below the posted limit.
- Leave Extra Space Between Vehicles: Under optimal driving conditions, motorists should leave at least one car length for every ten miles per hour between them and the vehicle in front of them. If the road and weather conditions are adverse, that distance should be significantly increased in order to afford for increased stopping distances.
- Dial 911 in Roadway Emergencies: In any weather conditions, motorists who become disabled or encounter an emergency on the roadways should dial 911 and report their location and the nature of the emergency. Motorists should always be aware of their location, noting the route they are traveling on and the number of the exit they most recently passed.