Surviving winter gridlock: be prepared says AAA


CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – As a narrow lake effect band dumped as much as two feet of snow on a few areas of Western New York Thursday night, some drivers were stuck in their cars for hours while the snow continued to fall through the night.

Winter is the worst time to get stuck in your car for an extended period, and the AAA of Western and Central New York suggests a “winter survival kit” can be crucial, starting with your cell phone. Brian Dadswell of the AAA said every car should have a snow brush and scraper, at the very least, but even before starting out, make sure you have a full tank–or nearly full tank–of gas.

“If you do end up getting stuck somewhere, you want to make sure that your vehicle can stay running, so you can keep warm,” and
Dadswell said there is another reason for having plenty of gas: so that if you are stuck for hours, you can keep your cell phone charged. It is your life line to the outside world, and summoning help.

“It is not like we can go out and find pay phones any longer, and if you are out someplace in the rural areas you just might not have someplace that you can go. Having your cell phone with you, and then carrying the charger with you is really key.”

The AAA also suggests your survival kit include water, and something to snack on, because you could end up stuck for at least a day; a blanket, and a set of boots, in case you have to leave your vehicle.

Something that should be a winter staple is a good set of tires, as Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz talked about ditched vehicles causing backups—vehicles that slid into the ditches because of bad tires.

“All it takes is one vehicle to skid and get stuck, or hit another one. Then everyone else behind it is stuck in a line, and that is what happened, including our plow drivers.”

In addition to a survival kit, Dadswell stressed preparation for brutal weather before you leave home, “Make sure that you have a good battery in your vehicle. Make sure that your preventive maintenance is done, your tires are in good condition, you have good windshield wipers on your car, you have a snow brush.”

Dadswell added, here in Western New York, you need good tires–at the very least all weather tires, snow tires would be best.

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