Press Release - 12-12-2023

DMV news

Wednesday, December 12, 2023 


The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the New York State Department of Transportation, State Police and the Thruway Authority today offered advice to help New Yorkers prepare their vehicles for winter driving conditions.

“Winter driving presents some challenges, but preparation can make it much safer for everyone,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and GTSC Chair. “Always check forecasts ahead of driving, especially during the winter. Make sure the vehicle and the headlights are clear and not covered with ice or snow, make sure your tires have adequate tread, and travel at a safe speed especially when roads are icy.”

Drivers can start by installing snow tires on their vehicles. State law allows the use of snow tires from October 16 through April 30.

Other state leaders reminded motorists to give room for plow operators and other emergency vehicles during winter weather.

Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Frank Hoare said, “Our plow operators and trucks will be out throughout the Winter months clearing and treating the roadway to make it safe and passable for all drivers. Thruway plows travel at 35 miles per hour when engaged in snow and ice operations, considerably slower than the posted Thruway speed limits. Drivers should slow down and use caution around plows. Remember to never crowd a plow. The safest place to travel is well behind the plow where the road is freshly cleared and treated. Help us help you get to your destination safely.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento said, “Being prepared is essential when navigating the roadways during the winter months. When traveling in winter weather conditions we urge motorists to be mindful of any traffic advisories and the current road conditions by slowing down and staying alert and focused. Motorists should also keep a supply of water, non-perishable food items and blankets as well as a flashlight and shovel in their vehicle in the event of becoming stranded. The New York State Police is prepared to respond and deploy the necessary assets to keep our roadways and motorists safe, as well as support our state agencies and emergency management teams in their safety efforts.”

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “With snow and ice season upon us, the New York State Department of Transportation asks all drivers to do their part to help keep themselves and others safe, while traveling the roadways. When road conditions are bad, stay home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to travel. If you need to be out, be sure to drive slowly and stay alert and please, help our plow drivers by giving them plenty of room at all times.  Our DOT operators, fleet and maintenance crews are dedicated professionals and they are ready to do their part once the first flake falls, so please, help us keep the roads safe for you.”

 When ready to drive, follow these tips:

  • Warm up the car so the defroster clears the windows.
  • Turn on headlights whenever windshield wipers are on. New York State law makes this mandatory.
  • Do not exceed the speed limit and always adjust speed to the road conditions.
  • Leave plenty of room between vehicles.
  • Don't try to pass or weave in and out of traffic. All drivers must be prepared to react if other drivers start to slide.
  • Do not drive during ice or snowstorms unless it is necessary.
  • When sleet, freezing rain or snow begin to fall, remember that bridges, ramps and overpasses will freeze first. Be aware that slippery spots may remain after snow is removed.

Some of the most important tips for safe winter driving DOT offers include:

  • Never follow a snowplow too closely or attempt to pass one. Drive well behind a snowplow where the road has been freshly cleared.
  • Adjust speed for road conditions and schedule extra time for winter travel.
  • Use extra caution on bridges, as they freeze more quickly than road surfaces.
  • Have a cell phone handy but do not text while driving; texting while driving is dangerous and illegal, but it becomes even more dangerous during storms.
  • Equip your car with emergency supplies, including shovel, flares, jumper cables, rope, ice scraper, portable radio, flashlight, blankets and extra warm clothes.
  • Inform a responsible person of your destination, intended route, and estimated time of arrival.
  • Winterize your vehicle by checking windshield wipers, filling washer fluid and maintaining good tire tread.

Before driving, GTSC recommends these tips:

  • Check tire tread.
  • Fill the gas tank.
  • Clear/clean all lights and windows.
  • Fill the windshield washer reservoir.
  • Remove all snow and ice including on top of the vehicle.
  • Ensure the vehicle’s heater and defroster are working properly.
  • Make sure the recommended amount of antifreeze is in the radiator.
  • Get familiar with a new vehicle before driving in harsh weather conditions.

The National Highway Safety Administration also offers winter driving tips and suggests keeping these supplies in the vehicle:

  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper
  • Abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case the vehicle gets stuck in the snow
  • Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers
  • Blankets
  • A cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine

For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit or download the free 511NY mobile app. The service features a winter travel advisory system and offers access to more than 1,000 live traffic cameras. An interactive statewide roadmap provides information about construction, crashes, and winter road conditions – showing which state roads are snow covered, wet, dry, or closed, as reported by our plow drivers. It’s a helpful resource for commuters and long-distance travelers alike to determine if travel is advisable before heading out on the roads.

The free travel information system is accessible 24 hours per day.

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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