CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – With a wintry mix of heavy snow, gusty winds, and rain headed our way AAA is urging customers to keep safety at the forefront before jumping behind the wheel.

Winter weather conditions are a main contributing factor in nearly half a million crashes.
And more than 2,000 road deaths in the winter. AAA urging customers to be vigilant on the roads. Winter weather and sloppy road conditions are a cause for concern in the winter. AAA says that close to half of all crashes involving bad weather take place during this time of year.

“This is the time of year when your driving skills have to be on point, this the most challenging time of year to be a driver. And with a big storm coming up we like to encourage people if you don’t have to drive just stay home that’s really the safest thing you can do,” said Mark Schieldrop AAA Northeast.

Defensive driving, increasing your following distance and reducing your speed is crucial to avoid crashes and other road way incidents especially those involving dangerous road conditions.

“Black ice is the only thing that you can do nothing about it. It happens I’ve seen it it’s happened with me a couple of times. Keep in mind winter in New England is very unpredictable so be prepared for any advisory,” Umar Bhatti from Chicopee said.

AAA says that during the winter months its important to proactive good car maintenance from
changing our tires to familiarizing ourselves with our brakes whether they are antilock or not.
So that in the event of an accident your are able to react and not freeze at the wheel.

We find that for 40% of people don’t have an emergency kit at all. Someone who lives in the Baystate and drives in the snow regularly it’s really a good idea to have some supplies on hand In case in case if something happens,” Schieldrop told 22News.