NDOT and NHP Offer Winter Driving Tips

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RENO, NV – The Nevada Highway Patrol has released a list of driving tips and introduced new winter road technology from the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Last winter, there were more than 2,000 crashes statewide due to unsafe driving in snow, ice and other wet conditions, such as driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, failing to maintain a lane and overcorrecting, according to NHP.

In winter conditions, motorists are reminded to drive slowly for conditions and leave space between their vehicles and others. Wearing a seat belt and focusing on the road are other important driving tips for any type of weather.

“Roadway safety and mobility are our top priorities,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon explained. “This year, NDOT will continue using a tow plow as an even more efficient way to clear larger areas of road for a clearer and safer drive.”

The tow plow is a second, steerable snowplow blade towed like a trailer behind a traditional snowplow. The tow plow swings out to the lane next to the lead snowplow to clear a second lane of snow. By using one plow to clear snow from two lanes, the tow plow increases mobility and safety for all drivers and leads to a $78 per hour estimated cost savings compared to a single plow. The tow plow will be used primarily on Interstate 580 in the Reno area. As with all snow removal equipment, drivers should pay attention to the location of and give extra room to the tow plow when on the road.

Updated state road conditions, from winter road closures to traffic and road incident information, are available by dialing 511 or logging on to www.nvroads.com before driving. Winter driving safety tips are available at www.nevadadot.com/winter.

∙ Only travel in winter weather when necessary, leave enough time to safely reach your destination and plan your route to help avoid snowy/icy areas and steep hills.
∙ Before driving, check weather and road conditions by dialing 511 within Nevada (or 1-877-NV-ROADS outside of Nevada) or logging on to www.nvroads.com.
∙ Share your travel itinerary so others know when to expect you.
∙ Remove snow and ice from all vehicle windows, mirrors, lights, turn signals and license plates.
∙ Buckle up.
∙ Turn on headlights to see and be seen.
∙ Turn off cruise control.
∙ Avoid quick starts, stops and fast turns. Accelerate, brake and steer smoothly and gradually.
∙ Reduce speed. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
∙ Do not slam on brakes. Apply steady pressure on ABS-equipped vehicles and pump the brakes if necessary on non-ABS vehicles.
∙ Always comply with all posted chain requirements.
∙ If your vehicle has snow tires, install and use them between October 1 and April 30.
∙ Keep additional distance from other vehicles.
∙ Watch carefully for snow removal equipment.
∙ Do not pass without good distance and sight clearance.
∙ Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas- they may freeze first.
∙ Maintain a high fuel level.
∙ If vehicle begins to skid, steer in direction of slide and slowly remove foot from accelerator.
∙ Be aware of black ice.
∙ If parked or stuck in snow, leave window slightly cracked for ventilation and make sure vehicle exhaust system is clear of snow.

Check before you go:
∙ Wipers
∙ Tires / tread
∙ Brakes
∙ Lights
∙ Battery
∙ Radiator
∙ Belts / hoses
∙ Exhaust / fuel / ignition system
∙ Heater / defroster
∙ Thermostat
∙ Vehicle fluid levels
(anti-freeze oil, windshield and brake fluid)
∙ Full gasoline tank

∙ Use caution when following, passing or approaching snow removal equipment.
∙ Drive a safe distance behind snowplows. Plows often travel slower than other vehicles to remove snow, apply sand and liquid anti-icers and assist stranded vehicles.
∙ Before attempting to pass snow removal equipment, check direction of snow discharge to avoid snow and debris thrown from equipment. Remember that plows are wider than most vehicles and portions of the plow and blade may be obscured by blowing snow.
∙ Don’t crowd the plow. Only pass snow removal vehicles when a safe, legal passing area is available and adequately clear of snow and/or treated with salt and sand.
∙ Don’t travel beside a snowplow. They can shift sideways after hitting snow packs or drifts. Plows also are not able to automatically stop sanding when other vehicles pass. Therefore, sand may unintentionally hit vehicles if not driven a proper distance from snow removal equipment.
∙ When a plow approaches you, allow the plow room to operate by reducing speed and moving to the right side of the road if there is room to safely do so.
∙ Do not brake with unnecessary sudden movements when in front of a snowplow - plows cannot stop as quickly as an automobile.
∙ Don’t drive through white out conditions caused by swirling snow around a snowplow. Safely pull to the side or slow to allow visibility to improve.
∙ Remember that a snowplow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not see you.