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Don’t crowd the plow and other winter driving tips

New Yorkers are no strangers to commuting in terrible weather. Unfortunately, every year drivers seem to be caught off guard by freezing rain, sleet, slush and snow. With the added winter challenges, drivers must not only be aware of strange weather patterns, but the city’s efforts to keep roads safe – namely, snowplows.

During the winter months, sharing the road with snowplows is a common occurrence. Whether they are clearing snow that has already fallen or spreading salt or chemicals in anticipation of a coming storm, these huge vehicles can often be seen driving along city streets, county roads and highways. New York state officials remind drivers “Don’t crowd the plow” and offer numerous other winter safety tips, including:

  • Keep your distance: Even though the plows will be driving slower than you want to, do not follow them too closely and don’t attempt to pass one when there’s not a clear passing lane. It is safer to remain behind them where the road was freshly cleared.

  • Perform regular car maintenance: This can be as simple as checking the air pressure in your tires, but it is crucial that your vehicle is in proper working order. Make sure to top off engine fluids including windshield wiper fluid.

  • Communicate: When weather gets bad and a trip simply cannot be avoided, inform an individual of your destination, intended route and estimated time of arrival. If you do not make it there within a reasonable amount of time, this individual can begin alerting authorities that you might be in trouble.

Vehicle accidents can have devastating consequences. Injuries can range from scrapes and bruises to head trauma and spinal cord damage. Severe collisions can result in fatalities for vehicle occupants. It is wise to remain safe on snowy roads, postponing a commute until the snowplows have cleared the path.

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