Winter Driving Tips

As we prepare for the first major lake effect snow event of the season, we would like to remind you of a few things to remember to help keep you safe if you have to travel. 


Arrive alive. Even a dusting of snow on the roadways can make the roads slippery enough to cause you to loose control of your vehicle. Be sure to allow ample time to arrive at your destination safely. 

Keep your eyes on the road

Lake effect snow bands can be very narrow and intense. You can go from an area of no snow, to white out conditions, and back again in just a mile or less. Always stay focused on the roadways ahead. Your friends on text messaging and social media can wait. 

Don’t tailgate

Even with brand new studded snow tires, it takes longer to stop when winter road conditions exist. While there is no magic number as to exactly how far to be back, use your head and the chart below. 

Check your vehicle

A safe vehicle is always a good defense in Winter driving. Here’s a few quick things to be sure your vehicle is road worthy for the season. 

  • No less than a half-tank of fuel. If you get stuck for an extended period of time, you want to be sure that you can keep warm. Be sure if you do run your engine that the exhaust pipe is clear so you don’t get a carbon monoxide (CO) back up. Then you have more problems than just being stuck. 
  • Have extra blankets and/or warm winter clothes. Again, if you get stuck, you want to be able to keep yourself and others warm and dry. 
  • Have a phone charger available. At least have a plug for the car, but a better idea is to have a separate battery charger that doesn’t draw from the vehicle battery. 
  • Be sure you have ample tread on your tires. 4/32 of an inch is generally considered to be “worn”, and 2/32 and below is considered “bald”. The more tread, the better. If you don’t have a tool to check tread depth, use a penny or quarter, and the chart below. 

Keep an emergency kit in your car

We already mentioned about keeping blankets and a phone charger in your vehicle, but there are a couple of other things to keep in your vehicle. 

  • Some sort of food. Not a Thanksgiving feast, but something that will keep like granola bars or nuts. Something that is a high energy food. Also, bottles of water to wash that down and keep you hydrated. 
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Snow brush and ice scraper

Ultimately, if you don’t feel it’s safe to travel, DON’T. 

Road Conditions

If you want to know road conditions, please do not call the police or 911. It’s snowing. People are crashing and their call volumes are probably increased. They have enough going on. Plus, asking for road conditions is not an emergency, and you shouldn’t be calling 911 for that anyway. Instead, here are some numbers and websites for area road conditions:

In Pennsylvania:

Dial 511 from any phone in PA, or go to

New York Thruway:

Dial 1-800-THRUWAY (847-8929) or visit

Ohio Roadways:

Drive defensively, be alert, and always fasten your safety belts!

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