Motorists should prepare for winter driving

ALBANY—The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) offer tips to help New Yorkers winterize their vehicles and prepare to drive in more challenging weather conditions. The agencies also reminded motorists that they can install snow tires on their vehicles. State law allows the use of snow tires from October 16 through April 30.

“Winter weather will be here soon, and motorists should winterize their vehicles and anticipate changing weather conditions,” DMV Commissioner and GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said in a press release. “A few simple practices like driving slow, making sure your lights are clear and not covered with ice or snow, having ample windshield washer fluid, for example, will help ensure your safety and the safety of others on the roads.”

Before driving, GTSC recommends these tips:

*Check tire tread

*Fill the gas tank

*Clear/clean all lights and windows

*Fill the windshield washer reservoir

*Remove all snow and ice including on top of the vehicle

*Ensure the vehicle’s heater and defroster are working properly

*Make sure the recommended amount of antifreeze is in the radiator

*Get familiar with a new vehicle before driving in harsh weather conditions.

When ready to drive, follow these tips:

*Warm up the car so the defroster clears the windows

*Turn on headlights whenever windshield wipers are on. New York State law makes this mandatory

*Do not exceed the speed limit and always adjust speed to the road conditions

*Leave plenty of room between vehicles

*Don’t try to pass or weave in and out of traffic. All drivers must be prepared to react if other drivers start to slide

*Do not drive during ice or snowstorms unless it is necessary

*When sleet, freezing rain or snow begin to fall, remember that bridges, ramps and overpasses will freeze first. Be aware that slippery spots may remain after snow is removed.

The National Highway Safety Administration also offers winter driving tips and suggests keeping these supplies in the vehicle:

*Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper

*Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case the vehicle gets stuck in the snow

*Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers


*A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas).

Motorists are urged to check 511NY before traveling. The free travel information system is accessible 24 hours per day by calling 511 or visiting The service provides real-time traffic conditions and links to information about air, rail and transit services.

The 511NY 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 updated snow and ice conditions for interstates and other heavily traveled roads as reported by snowplow operators.

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Tips keep motorists safe, purchases secure

ALBANY—Th State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and State Police urge New Yorkers to be cautious and take steps to keep themselves safe while driving and shopping this holiday season. Both agencies offered tips to promote highway safety and help consumers keep their purchases secure.

“The holidays are a special time of year that should be filled with happy memories and not tragedies caused by poor planning or poor decisions,” DMV Commissioner and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said in a press release. “There are simple steps a motorist can take—such as properly securing trees before transporting them, keeping free from distractions while driving, and having a plan to ensure they will never drive while impaired—that will help keep themselves and others safe on the road.”

“Criminals will look for any opportunity to steal and take advantage of their victims. It may sound simple, but whether you are shopping at a large mall or shopping small, always be aware of your surroundings. The commonsense steps are the ones that will protect you from becoming a victim. Being alert and taking the appropriate precautions will help to keep you safe this holiday shopping season,” State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said in the release.

State Police urged shoppers to be vigilant and offered the following additional tips:

*Shop with a friend or in a group

*If shopping alone, don’t be afraid to ask security to escort you to your car

*Store purchases in the trunk of your vehicle, under a blanket or out of view

*Do not leave valuables in your car

*Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and keep your money and credit cards in a front pocket.

DMV urges drivers who plan to go out celebrating during the holidays to use the Have a Plan app to help determine a safe way to get home. The free app from the GTSC and the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation allows you to designate a driver, call a cab or ride share, and to review the consequences of impaired driving. You can even use the app to report a drunk or drugged driver. The app is available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.

DMV provides winter driving tips to help motorists prepare for travel and guidance should they encounter snow or ice, including how to handle a skid. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) also offers winter driving tips and suggests keeping emergency supplies in the vehicle.

DMV reminded New Yorkers who are purchasing a real tree to make sure it is properly secured before driving. The driver should have an unobstructed view out of all windows. Drivers can face penalties if an unsecured tree falls off their vehicle.

According to a 2019 AAA survey, an estimated 84 million Americans plan to purchase a real tree, and 44% of them will transport the tree using unsafe methods. Failure to properly secure a tree risks dangerous road debris and damage to your vehicle and others.

In regard to decorating a vehicle, DMV reminds motorists that it is not legal to put decorative lights on their car, truck or SUV, and doing so could lead to a ticket. Other decorations must be secured and not obscure the driver’s vision, the vehicle’s lights or the license plates.

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Toys make season brighter. State Police in Livingston express their appreciation to the businesses and members of the community that helped make this year’s toy drive once again a success. All the donations will go to less fortunate families in both Columbia and Greene counties. Photo contributed

Group offers holiday Alkathons

HUDSON—The GOYA Group, District 17 (Columbia County) is having Christmas and New Year’s Day Alkathons, 52 Green St., Hudson.

In-person meetings begin at 9 a.m. and continue every hour on the hour. The last one ends at 6 p.m. Each in-person meeting will be 50 minutes.

In addition the group will have two (2) virtual meetings; one at 12 noon and one at 5 p.m., one hour long. Meeting ID: 920 788 729 passcode: goya. Call in: 1-929-205-6099.

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