Press Release - 10-16-2017

DMV News


Monday, October 16, 2017

Tiffany Portzer           
[email protected]   

New York State DMV and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Remind Motorists to Prepare Vehicles for 2017-18 Winter Season

New Yorkers encouraged to adopt winter driving techniques and observe roadway safety

It might still feel like summer, but winter is coming, and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) want you to be prepared. The DMV and GTSC today reminded motorists to winterize their vehicles and review safe driving tips ahead of the 2017-18 winter season. In addition, beginning October 16, drivers can install snow tires with metal studs. Per state law, these tires can be used in New York State only from October 16 through April 30.

“Winter weather produces various driving challenges for motorists in the Northeast, especially throughout New York State,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “We urge New Yorkers to be sure their vehicles are properly prepared for the upcoming winter season. Winter can be difficult on our roadways and safety should be top-of-mind for those travelling in New York State.”

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

  • Stock your vehicle with the following:

    • 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 routine and preventive 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 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 (GTSC) 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 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, you must be prepared to react if other drivers start to slide.
  • 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.

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.

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