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Ensure safe travel with vehicle checkups

January 25, 2012
Westfield Republican

With snow finally making an appearance, now is a good time for motorists to think about safe winter travel.

Whether traveling on city streets, town roads or major highways, you always should drive carefully and be prepared for inclement weather, especially if icy and snowy conditions finally make an appearance.

The New York State Thruway Authority is reminding motorists to prepare their vehicles before setting out.

We encourage you to follow the Thruway Authority's suggestions:

Get your vehicle tuned up;

Always buckle your seat belt and require your passengers to do the same;

Don't use hand-held communication devices while driving - it's against the law;

Use your headlights, as required by law;

Keep your gasoline tank at least half-full at all times;

Warm up your vehicle and remove all ice and snow from windows and vehicle surfaces before starting your trip;

Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, including blankets, gloves, hats, a flashlight with extra batteries, a shovel, a sack of sand, food, water and any needed medication;

When planning a trip, listen to local weather reports and the National Weather Service for weather conditions predicted along your travel route;

If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it until it's safe to pass; and

Be alert and allow extra distance between your vehicle and others.

The state Department of Transportation offers these tips if you become stranded:

Stay with your vehicle - it is your best shelter;

Call 911 if you have a cell phone and report your situation;

Tie a piece of bright fabric to your antenna for rescuers to see;

Run the engine periodically for heat and light;

Periodically clear the snow from your exhaust pipe to prevent backup of carbon monoxide;

Keep warm without fuel. To keep your blood circulating freely, loosen tight clothing, move your arms and legs, massage fingers and toes, tuck your fingers between your legs or armpits and elevate your feet because the floor of your car is not insulated and so is extremely cold; and

Leave one window slightly open for fresh air.



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