At the beginning of February, Connecticut was hit with a dangerous mixture of ice, sleet and freezing rain covering the state’s roadways in ice. The Connecticut State Police reported over 150 motor vehicle accidents during the storm.
Living in the northeast, winter snow storms are of no surprise to any Connecticut resident, but state officials still took precautionary measures to help keep citizens safe.
On February 1, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy ordered that the state’s emergency operations center be opened to help the public deal with the oncoming storm. Acknowledging that icing conditions made the roadways rather treacherous, state police recommended that motorists stay off the roads. As a further safety measure, Governor Malloy requested that drivers of large commercial trucks to stay off the roads for a 16-hour period during the worst of the winter storm.
Slick roads, blowing winds and rough terrain make driving conditions difficult. While the many Connecticutians hope that the worst of winter is over, wintery driving conditions will likely continue for the weeks to come, so it is always a good idea to take extra precaution when driving during the winter.
When the forecast predicts a winter storm, motorists should check their car to make sure everything is functioning properly and that fluids like windshield washer, antifreeze, oil and gas are all filled. Check the ignition and fuel systems, defroster, treads and tire pressure, wiper blades, battery and headlights. Keeping the gas tank full is especially important to avoid both freezing the line and in case you become stranded.
Also, consider keeping a cell phone on you or in your vehicle if you don’t already have one. The ability to contact with someone for help is immensely helpful if you find yourself stranded. Keeping blankets and extra warm clothes in the car is also a good idea, as you never know where you might get stuck.
Before driving during nasty winter weather, brush all the snow and ice off of your entire vehicle: windows, lights, hood and roof. Drive with your lights on and wear a seat belt. Before leaving, check up on the current road conditions.
The most important factor in winter driving is reducing your speed. The posted speed limits are for dry pavement, and icy roads demand a much slower speed and more time for braking. Keep in mind that bridges freeze before other roads (including the road approaching the icy bridge) and patches of ice can easily sneak up on you. Highway exit ramps are also especially icy.
Leave extra room for other vehicles to brake and pass you. Large semi trucks and snow plows need even more room to brake and that they have extended blind spots. Snow plow blades can extend farther than you think, so use extra caution if you decide to pass a snow plow.
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