HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Driving in a snowstorm can be both frightening and dangerous.
According to AAA, winter storms are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 deaths each year.
Western Massachusetts is being battered by a multi-day snowstorm that is expected to last until Tuesday morning.
Cheryl Ferriter told 22News, a person could lose control of their car when driving over snow or ice.
“A girl who I work with went off the road one day going into work and had a tough time after that,” said Ferriter. “It’s a matter of taking your time and making sure it’s safe to drive.”
MassDOT and AAA are urging drivers to keep off the roads and just stay home if possible.
If you have to drive, it’s important to take precautions to ensure a safe trip. Safety should always be your top priority when driving in a snowstorm.
It’s important to remember that it takes longer to slow down on snow-covered roads, so reduce your speed and take your time getting to your destination. Never use cruise control.
“You have to slow down and drive to the conditions of the road,” Earl McClain of Holyoke recommends. “Most people don’t slow down today and that’s why there are so many accidents on highways.”
AAA advises increasing your following distance behind the vehicle in front of you to at least five seconds, so you have plenty of time to stop. Before you hit the road, ensure all your tires have sufficient air pressure and use snow tires if you have them.
If you’re traveling a long distance, keep cold-weather gear in your car, such as a snow brush, ice scraper, warm clothing, and a shovel.