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Editorial: Reminders for safe winter driving in 2011

As we shovel our way through the thick of winter, we are often reminded of the pending season. Spring is right around the corner, and with it, the great thaw of Central New York. However, we still have a few months of this season left to navigate.

Driving becomes increasingly dangerous as snow accumulates on the ground. With thousands of residents using the major highways during their daily commute, the NYS Thruway Authority wishes to remind drivers of basic, yet often overlooked advice.

If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it until it's safe to pass. Remember, a snowplow driver has a limited field of vision. Stay back (15 car lengths) until you're sure it is safe to pass, or until the plow pulls off the road.

Make sure your brakes work. If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system, don't pump them, brake with firm pressure.

In case of emergency, breakdown or accident, motorists are reminded not to stop within travel lanes. If the vehicle can be driven, motorists should travel to the nearest exit or safe location.

Always carry an emergency supply kit which includes a car care kit, boots, a shovel, blanket, snacks, water, cell phone and cell phone charger, water and any needed medication.

Don't drive drunk: more than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the U.S. involve drivers impaired by alcohol.

And of course, always watch out for the other driver.

Soon enough the weather will start to improve and the temperature controls on our car dashboards will change poles accordingly. Until then, stay alert and stay safe.

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