Accidents increase as winter weather returns
BATAVIA — It is snow and ice time. Again.
Tuesday morning, local residents woke up to 2.5 inches of overnight snowfall, according to the National Weather Service's Binghamton and Buffalo offices. West Almond logged 2.8 inches, and a trained weather spotter measured 1.7 inches of snow in Alfred. Morning commuters quickly realized that beneath the snow was a treacherous layer of icy pavement.
With the arrival this week of some significant snowfall in several Western New York communities and with the prospect of icy, slippery highway conditions challenging drivers in the coming weeks and months, New York State Police Troop A is reminding motorists of the steps they can take to make travel safer.
On Tuesday, State Police were encouraging motorists to be cautious.
“The State Police will be out across the region checking all major routes of travel to ensure that motorists are as safe as possible,” said Major Edward J. Kennedy Troop A commander. “The State Police need your assistance to make this possible. Motorists traveling in areas impacted by the snow are asked to leave with extra time to make a slow and careful drive to your destination. Take into consideration snow accumulation on the roads, the current snowfall rate, the wind, and visibility. Use your best judgment to determine if driving is prudent.”
Troopers suggest keeping the following tips in mind
- Get the latest weather forecast before leaving with local weather apps, or by monitoring media reports.
- Always clean a vehicle's windows and mirrors fully of any snow and ice before driving.
- Keep a full tank of gas, and be sure vehicle fluid levels and a spare tire are sufficient and you have the jack and wheel wrench.
- Use headlights at all times to increase your visibility to others.
- Remember, if your windshield wipers are in use due to weather, then your headlights must be on.
- Drive prudently. If the conditions are adverse, decrease speed accordingly.
- Do not use cruise control.
- Look out for events farther down the road. Creating more time to react can make a difference.
- Be aware of maintenance vehicles and emergency vehicles and give them room to work.
- If you do not absolutely have to go out on the roads, then don’t.
Drivers are also reminded that they can now install snow tires on their vehicles. Under state law, snow tires can be used from Oct. 16 through April 30.
Troopers advise motorists to be well supplied in the event they become stranded. Important items include gloves, blankets, hand warmers, tool kit, first-aid kit, non-perishable foods, water, a working flashlight and batteries and a cell phone charger. Additionally, shovels, ice scrapers, a de-icer, snow brushes, rock salt or cat litter, a tow chain or cable, jumper cables or a battery charger may all prove quite useful.
In an emergency
“If you drive off the roadway and are stuck in a snow bank or ditch, stay in your vehicle and call 911,” Major Kennedy said. “Do not exit your vehicle unless it is an absolute emergency. You put yourself at risk of being struck by another vehicle.
“Roll your windows down a few inches or turn your vehicle off if you are stranded in snow for a period of time with your vehicle running. Covered mufflers can cause serious physical injury or death due to inhalation of carbon monoxide.”
Troopers also suggest that Thruway travelers keep track of their location by being aware of the direction of transit and the mile post marker. This helps emergency personnel reach the problem as quickly as possible.