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""If the weather outside is frightful, driving might not be delightful.

You should avoid driving during severe weather if possible. However, if you do need to drive, make sure you stay safe by following winter driving safety tips from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

  1. Winterize Your Vehicle — Prepare your vehicle for winter driving by checking that key parts like the ignition, fuel, and exhaust systems are in working order. Consider installing snow tires if needed. Put together an emergency car kit in case of a roadside emergency. Keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the winter to avoid a buildup of condensation that may cause the fuel line to freeze.
  2. Check Weather Conditions — Download the free Massachusetts Alerts app to get updates about severe weather watches and warnings. You can also call 5-1-1 or check the MassDOT traffic advisory page for real-time updates on road conditions. Unless it’s an emergency, avoid driving during winter storms.
  3. Clear Your Car Before Driving — Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle’s windows, lights, roof, and hood before driving. This will help you see and prevents snow on your car from blowing onto someone else’s windshield while you’re on the road. To help keep animals safe in the winter, bang on your hood before starting the engine to scare off critters that may be using it for shelter.
  4. Drive with Care — When there’s snow or ice on the ground, slow down. Poor road conditions can cause your car to perform differently than it usually would. Be more cautious than usual — look farther ahead in traffic, brake early and carefully, and don’t use cruise control. Watch for plows, maintenance vehicles, and trucks, and give them plenty of space.
  5. Park Your Car Safely — Avoid parking close to corners after snowstorms to give public safety vehicles and plows extra room to maneuver.
  6. Know What to Do if You Get Stuck — If you get stranded on the road, stay with your car and call 9-1-1. Don’t run the engine unless you’re able to keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow. Move around to keep your blood flowing and stay warm, but avoid overexertion. If possible, make your car more visible by tying a bright piece of fabric to your antenna or door handle.

For more winter driving information, read MEMA’s safe winter driving tips and the full MassDOT safe winter driving tips page.

Share these winter driving tips with friends and family to help everyone have smooth commutes and a safe season. Comment below or tweet us @MassGov with any questions, and check out mass.gov/snow for more winter resources.

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