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Safe winter driving tips

Avoid driving during winter storms unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must travel, here are driving tips to keep you safe.
  • Avoid driving during the worst part of the storm. If possible, only travel during daylight hours, don't travel alone, and stay on main roads instead of taking shortcuts.
  • Consider taking public transportation.
  • Clear snow and ice from windows, lights, the hood, and the roof before driving.
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.
  • Don't try to out drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Know the current road conditions. Call 511 from your cell phone or any of the following from either your cell phone or landline phone.
    • Metro Boston: (617) 986-5511
    • Central Mass: (508) 499-5511
    • Western Mass: (413) 754-5511
  • Brake early and correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Be wary of bridge decks. They freeze first, making them more dangerous than the approach road.
  • Exit ramps sometimes have less anti-icing material than the main line. Be aware of this when exiting the highway.
  • Don't use "cruise control" driving in wintry conditions. Even roads that look clear can have sudden slippery spots. Using your brake on these spots will deactivate cruise control, possibly causing you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • Many 4x4 vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles. This means it takes longer to stop than passenger vehicles. Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle. Be wary of your 4x4 vehicle's traction.
  • Look further ahead in traffic than normal.
  • Trucks are heavier than cars, making their brake time slower. Avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
  • Don't crowd the plow. Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows. Stay back at least 200 feet and don't pass on the right.
  • Remember to slow down and always wear your seat belt.
  • Let others know your destination, route, and expected travel times.
  • Allow for extra travel time.
  • Drive with your headlights on at all times to see and be seen.


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