GLOUCESTER — To help residents to stay safe on the road this winter, Chief Eric Smith and the Gloucester Fire Department encourage residents to follow several key safety tips.
“Driving in the winter can be stressful, especially in New England, where heavy snowfall and icy conditions can seemingly appear out of nowhere,” Chief Smith said. “As we brace for more snow, ice and cold weather, it’s important to take extra precautions to ensure you arrive safely at your destination.”
To help drivers handle potentially hazardous road conditions, the Gloucester Fire Department encourages residents to familiarize themselves with the following safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation:
BEFORE DRIVING DURING HARSH WEATHER
- Charge your cell phone and keep a car charger for emergencies.
- Always fill the gas tank before a long trip or even for a short distance. Keeping your tank full may prevent condensation.
- Clear all windows and lights of frost and snow.
- Ensure that your headlights are on.
- Stock your car with basic winter driving equipment.
- Warm your car battery ahead of time if possible, as the battery can provide a lot more power when warm.
- Always keep the gas tank at least half full and remember your cell phone.
ON THE ROAD
- Avoid driving during the worst part of the storm. If possible, only travel during daylight hours, don’t travel alone, and stay on main roads instead of taking shortcuts.
- Consider taking public transportation.
- Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Brake early and correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
- Don’t try to out-drive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
- Be wary of bridge decks. They freeze first, making them more dangerous than the approach road.
- Remember to slow down and always wear your seat belt.
IF YOU’RE STRANDED
- Pull off the road, use flashers and always try to call 911 first.
- Tie a bright cloth to your antenna or door handle.
- Remain in your vehicle. Walking in a storm can be very dangerous, especially if you lose your way.
- For warmth, run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes each hour. Open a downwind window slightly while it’s running and keep snow clear from the exhaust pipe.
- Avoid overexertion, such as trying to push your car or shoveling snow. You could risk heart attack or other injury.
- Loosen tight clothes to keep blood circulating.
- Change your body position often.
- Make yourself visible to rescuers by turning on the inside light of the vehicle.
For more information on Winter Weather Driving safety tips, visit the Massachusetts Department of Transportation website or contact the Gloucester Fire Department at 978-325-5300.