CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts is being hit by a powerful wintry mix that will last through Friday night.

This storm arrives at a difficult time as shoppers and travelers try to prepare for the busy holiday weekend. So if you do have plans to hit the road, train or store experts suggest to head out early and proceed with caution.

With a wintry mix of snow, gusty winds, and freezing rain headed our way many tried to grab those last minute items ahead of the storm to avoid the hustle and bustle on the roads and in stores the day before Christmas Eve.

“Get out early definitely start early don’t do last minute trips because once you’re rushing it gets bad,” said Sheryl Lavoie from Ludlow.

Lavoie and her husband made sure to head out before the storm to avoid the winter weather conditions and traffic on the roads.

“It doesn’t seem that bad right now in the store here but I imagine tomorrow it’ll be really Bad. So go slow take it easy and be friendly,” Karl Copor from Palmer told 22News.

“It’s scary especially with all the traffic and holiday shopping I just hope there’s not like black ice anytime soon because I know that’s super dangerous and everything,” said Jasmin Lantigua from Chicopee.

If you start to slide remember don’t slam your brakes. Keep calm and ease off the gas and try to guide the car to a slow and easy stop.

“Even though everyone is driving fast don’t feel pressured to do so as well take your time and be safe,” said Lantigua.

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 during the winter season.

Rain will be heavy at times with the heaviest rain happening early tomorrow morning, so give yourself extra time to get to work, school, or the mall.