State Police, AAA Release Driving Tips As Storm Looms

Much of Western New York is under a winter storm warning from Thursday evening to Friday afternoon. Between 8 and 18 inches of snow could fall in some spots. P-J file photo

The New York State Police and AAA have released driving and safety tips as heavy snow is expected to move into the area beginning this evening.

The state police said troopers will be checking all major roads to ensure “motorists are as safe as possible” while snow moves into the region. The National Weather Service in Buffalo said the area could see between 8 to 18 inches of snow between tonight and Friday afternoon. The most snow will fall in the Chautauqua Ridge area.

Addition troopers will be on patrol to assist motorists, state police said in a press release.

“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,” the state police said Thursday. “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.”

Police and AAA offered the following safety tips:

• Get the latest weather forecast before traveling;

• Keep a full tank of gas;

• 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,” state police said;

• Do not use cruise control and look further down the road for potential hazards;

• Don’t drive unless you need to be on the road.

According to AAA, about 46 percent of crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter, “making this the worst time of year for driving in treacherous conditions.”

“As we get our first dose of winter weather, motorists should prepare their cars and pack an emergency roadside kit complete with a cell phone charger or power bank. It’s important to use winter driving skills as slick roads create dangerous situations,” said Elizabeth Carey, public relations director at AAA WCNY. “During storm conditions, AAA will prioritize emergencies when responding to service calls. We urge all drivers to obey all travel advisories and use caution when traveling.”

State police and AAA advises motorists to stay in your vehicle and call 911 if involved in a collision or are stuck in a ditch.

“Do not exit your vehicle unless it is an absolute emergency,” state police said. “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.”

The New York State Police can be followed on Twitter at for information on road closures and weather alerts.