Safe Winter Driving


BINGHAMTON, NYWinter weather can be a dangerous time for drivers on the road. Snow, sleet, freezing temperatures and ice can lead to slower traffic, hazardous road conditions and frustrated drivers. It is important to prepare your vehicle ahead of time. The Broome County Traffic Safety Board is encouraging drivers this season to follow some key safe winter driving guidelines by the National Safety Council.

Prepare your car: Your car should have a tune-up to ensure better gas mileage, quicker starts and faster response on pick-up and passing power. Your check-up should include:

  • Checking the ignition, brakes, wiring hoses and fan belts
  • Changing and adjusting the spark plugs
  • Checking the air, fuel and emission filters and the PCV valve
  • Inspecting the distributor
  • Checking the battery
  • Checking the tires for air, sidewall wear and tread depth
  • Checking the antifreeze level and freeze line

Necessary Equipment: Your trunk should carry the following items in case of an emergency:

  • A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack
  • A shovel
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow and tire chains
  • A bag of salt or cat litter
  • Tool kit
If You Become Stranded:  Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are and how far it is to possible help. To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe distance away and hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna. To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia use woolen items and blankets to keep warm. Run your car’s heater for about 10 minutes at a time for warmth but only if you are sure your car’s exhaust pipe is not blocked. Be sure to keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut. Your car should be equipped with a “survival kit” that includes:
  • Working flashlight and extra batteries
  • Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
  • Compass
  • First aid kit
  • Exterior windshield cleaner
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container
  • Scissors and string/cord
  • Non-perishable, high energy foods
  • Heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets
Be a prepared driver as well during the winter season. Listen to forecasts on the radio, TV, weather channels and in the newspapers. Drive slow and carefully in bad weather. If road conditions are particularly hazardous, it is best to stay inside. Travel only when absolutely necessary. 
For more information on safe winter driving, please visit the National Safety Council website at



12/07/2009 - 1:30pm