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NDOT/NHP Offer Winter Driving Safety Tips

As winter weather is forecast in northern Nevada during the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period, NDOT and NHP are providing winter driving reminders to help motorists drive more safely

Post Date:11/20/2018 9:34 AM

RENO, Nev. As winter weather is forecast in northern Nevada during the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period, the Nevada Department of Transportation and Nevada Highway Patrol are providing winter driving reminders to help motorists drive more safely.

On average, as many as 2,000 crashes occur statewide every year due to unsafe driving in snow, ice and other wet conditions, such as driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, or failing to maintain a lane and overcorrecting.

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

“Speed and distracted driving can be particularly dangerous in winter weather,” Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Matt McLaughlin said. “Slowing down in winter conditions and always focusing on the road can truly save lives.”

“Roadway safety and mobility are our top priorities,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon explained. “Last winter, NDOT crews dedicated more than 34,000 hours to removing snow and ice from state roads in northwestern Nevada. We ask motorists to give extra travel time and reduce speed in winter weather for further safety.”

Updated state road conditions, including winter road closures and incidents, are available by dialing “511” or logging on to before driving. Drivers can also view live traffic cameras and sign up for free traffic alerts for their state road commute. Winter driving safety tips are available at


∙  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

∙  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.

∙  Do not rely solely on GPS to find alternate routes, as it could lead to unmaintained roadways or hazardous areas.

∙  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 traction device 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, brake fluid, etc.)

∙  Full gasoline tank

Carry with you:

∙  Tire chains / tow strap    

∙  Flashlight

∙  Spare batteries   

∙  Ice scraper  

∙  Cell phone for emergency communication

∙  Snow shovel

∙  Flares   

∙  Jumper cables

∙  Small bag of sand for wheel traction

∙  Extra winter clothes / coat / gloves / socks

∙  Blanket or sleeping bag    

∙  Non-perishable foods / water

∙  First aid supplies / prescription medication

∙  Battery-operated radio

∙  Candles / matches or lighter

∙  State map for navigation in event of winter detour


∙  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.

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