State Police: Avoid unnecessary travel during the winter storm this weekend

New York State Police

ALBANY, NY — The New York State Police is advising motorists to avoid any unnecessary driving during the winter storm that is forecast to bring a significant amount of snow to many areas across the state from Saturday into Sunday.

Troopers will be out in force during the storm to provide assistance, will be working closely and coordinating with local Emergency Operations Centers as needed, and are prepared for the potential increase in storm-related service calls.

Motorists who must travel in the areas impacted by the snow are asked to leave with extra time to make a slow and careful drive to your destination.  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.

Remember bridge and exit and entrance ramps can be icy when other road surfaces are not. Clean all snow and ice from the entire vehicle and ensure the windshield is clear of frost. If you do become stranded, stay with your vehicle and in an emergency dial 911.

If you must travel- keep the following tips in mind:

  • Get the latest weather forecast and road conditions before leaving via your local weather apps, radio or TV stations.

  • Always clean your windows and mirrors FULLY of any snow and ice before driving.

  • Keep a full tank of gas

  • Make sure fluid levels are topped off (windshield washer fluid, anti-freeze)

  • Make sure your spare tire is in working condition, and you have a jack and lug wrench

  • 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.

  • Drive prudently.  If the conditions are adverse, you should decrease your speed accordingly.

  • Brake early

  • Do NOT use cruise control.  This decreases your reaction time to apply braking.

  • Look out for events farther down the road.  Creating more time to react can make a difference.

  • Be aware of maintenance vehicles and emergency vehicles.  Give them room to work.

  • Stock your trunk to help you to be safe in case you are stopped or stranded in an area without assistance readily available:

    • Gloves, blankets, warmers, tool kit, first-aid kit, non-perishable foods, water, working flashlight and batteries, cell phone charger, etc.

    • Shovel, ice scraper, de-icer, snow brush, rock salt or cat litter, tow chain or cable, jumper cables or battery charger, etc.

If you are involved in a collision or leave the roadway:

If you drive off the roadway and are stuck in a snow bank or ditch, stay in your vehicle and call 911.  DO NOT exit your vehicle unless it is an absolute emergency.  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.

If you should become stranded on the Thruway or any roadway, know your location by being aware of your direction and milepost marker.  This will help emergency personnel reach your location as quickly as possible.

Follow the New York State Police’s Twitter page@nyspolice for up to the minute information on road closures and weather alerts. Motorists can also check 511NY before traveling at or by downloading the mobile app. The free service allows users to check road conditions and features a winter travel advisory system with real-time travel reports and a color-coded map indicating which state roads are clear, wet or snow covered.

The Thruway Authority provides a wide variety of information for travelers including current traffic conditions, accidents, and lane closures on their website, or through their mobile app.

Slow down.  Be prepared.  Be safe.