State Officials Gearing Up for First Snow of Season

Ready or not, here it comes. The first snowfall of the season is here.

Up to two inches are predicted in some parts of the state, but the Department of Transportation isn’t waiting.

“We basically start our winter weather preparation at the end of the last season so there is no scrambling around or panic on our part anytime winter weather comes in,” said DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick.

For them, Thursday was more about final checks and some pretreatment of interstate highway bridges.

“We’re squared away. We have all our materials set aside, all of our equipment is ready to go, all our staff is ready to go,” said Nursick.

They may be ready, but the truth is you may not be. Regardless of their efforts, Nursick says slick roads will happen and one of the biggest problems they see every year during those first flakes all stem from driver behavior.

“The public hasn’t put out their winter hats on yet, so to speak, and that can lead to a problem with these little storm events,” said Nursick.

To help you find that hat, AAA is offering some suggestions for both car and driver. Aaron Kupec, AAA Spokesman, says the best place to start is where the rubber meets the road: your tires.

“Tire pressure and tread is really important when we are talking about driving on slick roads,” said Kupec. “Every ten degree drop in air temperature means a one psi drop in tire pressure.”

When it comes to tread, Kupec says there is a simple way to tell if it’s time to go tire shopping. Place a quarter with Washington’s head first into one of the tire’s grooves. If Washington’s head is exposed, Kupec says it’s time to go tire shopping.

AAA also recommends checking your battery charging systems and outfitting your car with an emergency kit.

Stephen Rourke is AAA’s driving school manager and says car preparation is only half the battle, the rest fall on the driver. Rourke says the best advice is to slow down, leave space, but most importantly don’t panic.

“It is safe to drive safely during the winter time if you do it correctly,” said Stephen Rourke, AAA Driving School Manager.

Remember you have help, the DOT says at full force 800 plus plows will be on the roads this winter. Their rollout depends on everything from accumulation, duration of the storm, when it hits and its reach.

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