Press Release - 10-16-2015

DMV News



Joe Morrissey 
Casey McNulty 

Friday, October 16, 2015 


Agency Offers Safe Driving Tips Ahead of Winter

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today reminded New Yorkers that beginning today, October 16, drivers are allowed to install snow tires with metal studs.  By law, these tires can be used in New York State only from October 16 through April 30.  The agency also reminded New York drivers to winterize their vehicles and review safe driving tips ahead of cold weather.

“It seems like summer was just here, but cold weather is right around the corner and starting today, drivers can legally install studded snow tires on their vehicle here in New York,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan.  “Snow and ice aren’t the only culprits that complicate driving during the winter time – there are fewer hours of daylight, so it gets dark earlier.  It’s not only important to keep safety tips in mind, but to make sure your vehicle is ready for the winter. I encourage all New Yorkers to make their cars ready for the winter weather.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers the following tips for preparing vehicles for cold weather:


  • Stock your vehicle. Keep the following on hand:
    • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper.
    • Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow.
    • Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and markers.
    • Blankets for protection from the cold.
    • A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas).
  • Get your car serviced ahead of time. Visit your mechanic for a tune-up and other routine maintenance – no one wants to break down, especially in the cold or the snow.
  • Check your battery. When the temperature drops, so does battery power. Have your mechanic check for sufficient voltage.
  • Check your cooling system. When coolant freezes, it expands. Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle and that it’s designed to withstand the winter temperatures you might experience in your area.
  • Fill your windshield washer reservoir and keep some extra on hand in your vehicle. You can go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid fairly quickly in a single snowstorm.
  • Check your windshield wipers and defrosters. Make sure your windshield wipers work and replace worn blades. Check to see that your window defrosters (front and rear) work properly.
  • Verify floor mat installation to prevent pedal interference. Incorrect or improperly installed floor mats in your vehicle may interfere with the operation of the accelerator or brake pedal, increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Inspect your tires. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle at all times and check pressure when tires are “cold” — meaning they haven’t been driven on for at least three hours. Look closely at your tread and replace tires that have uneven wear or insufficient tread.


DMV and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee recommend the following tips for winter driving:


  • Do not drive during ice or snow storms unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • If you must drive, first clear the ice and snow from your vehicle. This includes the headlights and taillights, the windshield wipers and all of the windows. New York State law dictates that it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with anything that obstructs the driver’s view. Additionally, license plates must be visible, headlights should provide adequate illumination, and all lights should be visible to other motorists.
  • Allow your defrosters time to work before driving so you can see.
  • Turn on your headlights when you turn on your windshield wipers. New York State law makes this mandatory.
  • Drive slowly. Even if your vehicle has good traction in ice and snow, other drivers will travel with caution.
  • To prevent skids on snow and ice, brake early, carefully and gently. "Press" your brakes in slow, steady strokes. Allow the wheels to keep turning. If they begin to lock up, decrease pressure on the brake pedal. As your vehicle decreases speed, you can also shift into a lower gear.  Click here to learn how to best recover from a skid.
  • When sleet, freezing rain or snow begin to fall, remember that bridges, ramps and overpasses will freeze first. Also know that slippery spots may remain after road workers have removed the snow.


To learn more about traffic safety and the GTSC, click here. For more about the DMV, click here.

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.

Additionally, the New York State Thruway Authority provides information about emergency and roadside assistance, driving safety, and winter safety on its website.