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Snowplow clearing road

Winter in Massachusetts can deliver beautiful, crisp, fresh-air days to enjoy, but it can also distribute heavy amounts of snow via powerful Nor’easters that make driving dangerous. While it’s impossible to expect ideal road conditions year-round, there are safety measures drivers can take to make winter road trips less problematic.

  1. Ensure your car is road-ready; check the tires, brakes, lights, and windshield wipers.
  2. Keep the gas tank at least half-full. In extremely cold temperatures, condensation can build up in an empty tank which can cause the fuel line to freeze.
  3. Before hitting the road, clear the car’s hood, roof, and all windows and lights of frost and snow.
  4. Pack an emergency road kit in case of a breakdown or accident. It should include an ice scraper, shovel, flashlight, jumper cables, flares, blankets, and a first-aid kit.
  5. Check road conditions before travelling by calling 5-1-1 or by visiting the MassDOT traffic page, which provides real-time views of roads across the Commonwealth.
  6. If possible, postpone travel until roads have been plowed, treated, and cleared.
  7. A highway speed of 65 miles per hour may be safe in dry weather, but can be an invitation for trouble on snow and ice. Speed limits are set for optimal conditions, so adjust your speed to the weather outside.
  8. Always wear a seat belt.
  9. In wintry conditions, motorists should always drive with their headlights on for maximum visibility.
  10. On slippery roads, a vehicle will not be able to stop or turn as quickly as it would on dry pavement, so allow greater distance than usual between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you.

Winterizing your vehicle and being a bit more cautious behind the wheel can help everyone avoid unpleasant surprises during the upcoming winter.

What are your winter driving tips? Comment below or tweet us at @MassGov.

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