Submitted by AAA of Western and Central New York
Blizzard conditions in the Buffalo Region are making it difficult for tow truck drivers to navigate roads in poor visibility. A driving ban is now in effect in Erie County. Please keep in mind that AAA may be unable to provide service in areas that are under travel bans, and AAA urges motorists to stay home. Going out on the roads will result in an emergency situation for stranded motorists. In areas where conditions are dangerous, AAA will suspend service for motorists who are safe at home. Anyone stranded in a vehicle should call 9-1-1.
AAA provides roadside assistance, but cannot facilitate emergency rescue operations. AAA is urging the public to obey driving bans for their own safety. Some AAA contractors are pulling tow trucks off the road to protect drivers as visibility is poor and conditions are deteriorating rapidly.
The following AAA offices are closed: Amherst, Orchard Park, KenTon, Greece and Watertown.
Even drivers who are experienced with winter driving skills in vehicles equipped with four-wheel drive are no match for blizzard conditions and whiteouts. AAA offers these tips for navigating a vehicle in a storm:
√ If you lose sight of the road and need to stop, shelter in place. Your automobile is your shelter. Do not wander away from the car – you might not be able to find it when you return (and it’s best to conserve your warmth and energy). Stay seat belted in and call 9-1-1 for help.
√ Attach a colorful sash, handkerchief or scarf to your antenna, side mirror or window. It will flutter in the wind and could alert any emergency services to the location of your vehicle. Don’t use white fabric – it will blend in with the snow. You can also turn your car’s interior lights on if it gets dark outside. This doesn’t sap much energy from your car’s battery, and it can help emergency services find you.
√ You may choose to keep your car running so that you can make use of the heating system. Don’t overuse it, though. You want to save your gasoline. If you turn your engine on, make sure your exhaust pipe is kept clear. If it gets backed up with snow, you could risk carbon monoxide poisoning.
√ Insulate your body heat with anything you have on hand, from emergency blankets to crumpled-up newspapers to floor mats.
√ When you’re driving in snow – serious snow, like a blizzard or a snowstorm – you need to remain calm and make smart, safe decisions.
√ AAA reminds motorists that the safest place to be is at home. If you don’t need to venture out, stay safe, warm and comfortable at home.
For areas that are not experiencing blizzard conditions, we remind motorists to use caution on snow-covered roads. Pack an emergency kit with a cell phone charger, jumper cables, tools, warm clothes, snacks and water before heading out in wintry weather.
AAA expects 102 million people to travel by car for the holidays. Remember, go slow on ice and snow.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.