New York Injury Law Blog

9 Tips for Safe Winter Travel in NY

New York motorists should watch out for black ice and white clouds to avoid trouble on the road this winter.

They can also call 511 or click for up-to-the-minute road conditions statewide.

Those are a few of the winter driving safety tips suggested by the New York State Department of Transportation.

Each winter, hundreds of New Yorkers are injured and killed in car crashes caused by ice, snow, sleet, and reduced visibility.

This year, the NYSDOT is hoping to change that:

New Yorkers can access NYSDOT’s free 511NY traffic and travel information system, which provides real-time travel information, by calling 511 or visiting

The website features a winter travel advisory system, with real-time travel reports and a color-coded map indicating which state roads are snow covered, ice covered, wet, dry, or closed to help drivers determine if travel is advisable. The system provides real-time snow and ice conditions for interstates and other heavily traveled roads, as reported by snowplow operators.

When using 511NY, drivers must be aware that talking on a cell phone and texting while driving are illegal and that distracted driving is particularly hazardous during snow and ice conditions.

Following are some additional safe driving tips:

  • Never follow a snowplow too closely or attempt to pass through a white cloud of plowed snow.
  • Slow down and increase your following distance.
  • Schedule extra travel time and be patient during ice and snow removal operations.
  • Assume that bridge surfaces are slippery, as they freeze more quickly than road surfaces.
  • Beware of black ice, which can be difficult to see but makes conditions slippery when pavement temperatures are below freezing.
  • Bring your cell phone but do not text while driving.
  • Never venture from your vehicle if snowbound.
  • Equip your car with emergency supplies, including sand, shovel, flares, booster cables, rope, ice scraper, portable radio, flashlight, blankets and extra warm clothes.

Source: New York State Department of Transportation

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