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Winter Traffic Natick, December 5, 2016MassDOT advises the public that weather forecasters are calling for a winter weather event on Thursday that could bring up to approximately 12 inches of snow to locations throughout Massachusetts. The public is strongly advised not to drive tomorrow and work from home if possible and if that is not an option, travelers are encouraged to make informed and safe decisions before they head out onto the roadways.

“The weather forecast is calling for snow to begin before the morning commute on Thursday, become heavy quickly, and continue throughout the day, decreasing visibility and braking time,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “Safety is our greatest priority, and as this snow storm is expected to create potentially hazardous conditions for the morning and evening commutes, we encourage all travelers to make safe and smart decisions and avoid heading out onto the roadways if they are able to.”

Snowfall is expected to develop before the Thursday morning commute, intensify throughout the morning, and reach its height during the midday into afternoon hours. The storm is then predicted to taper off throughout the late evening and overnight hours.

If drivers must go out on the roadways, they are advised to drive the conditions, lower their speeds, give themselves extra time to reach their destinations, and remember MassDOT’s message “Don’t Crowd the Plow” and stay behind snow removal equipment on the roadways. MassDOT strongly urges drivers to always wear their seatbelts, minimize distractions, turn off or put away cell-phones and devote their full attention to what is ahead on the road.

As an example of the danger of failing to give snowplow drivers extra space, please see this video of a tractor trailer truck passing and clipping a snowplow in Utah and sending the plow truck off the road and through a guardrail.  Fortunately, the plow driver in this video is expected to make a full recovery and meanwhile, the driver of the tractor trailer was issued a citation by law enforcement.

For updates on road and traffic conditions in Massachusetts, drivers can:

  • Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions on I-90 and other roads.
  • Visit mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions and MassDOT’s efforts to treat major highways throughout the Commonwealth.
  • Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.

Other important winter driving tips include:

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights – even the hood and roof- before driving (start with the tailpipe).
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.
  • Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road.
  • Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.
  • Most importantly please remember to slow down. Also, seat belts should be worn at all times – it’s the law.

Please review more information on safe winter driving.

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