5 winter survival tips for Central New York drivers


NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Temperatures are dropping and there's a possibility of black ice Monday night. It's no secret winter is coming and in Central New York, driving is a whole other story.

For starters, there's snow tires. In the past two years the industry has changed its standards and says to put snow tires on the back.

"Especially in any type of weather- rain, snow, sleet. You want that rear tire, you want that traction on the rear also, even if it's a front-wheel drive vehicle," said Dennis Johnson, assistant service manager at Pep Boys in New Hartford. "Four tires are always better than two."

Tires have been flying off the shelves at Pep Boys in New Hartford, but for those who are waiting for the first snowfall, Johnson says, don't.

"That's the wrong thing to do. You have to prepare for the season. Snow tires should be on in October, OK? Not first snowfall," said Johnson.

If you have snow tires from last year, you can use the penny trick to check if they're still good to go. If Abe Lincoln's head disappears, your tires have enough tread. If you can see the full penny, its time for a new tire.

But, it's not all tire talk. Drivers have a whole check list before the snow hits.

"You need a snow brush, you need new wiper blades, get your oil changed, a blanket and some flares in the trunk, four snow tires, have your vehicle serviced and be prepared for the weather," said Johnson.

And if you do hit a patch of ice: "Cars now are equipped with anti-lock brakes so if you put your foot on the brake, do not pump the brake, they'll pulsate themselves to slow down," said Johnson.

And if you skid, turn into it.

"So if the back end comes around to your right, turn your wheel to the right to straighten the vehicle out. Slow down and always wear your seat belt," said Johnson.

In preparation for the worse case scenario, it's not a bad idea to have an emergency kit with a flashlight, a blanket, tools, flares, tire repair and more.

To sum it all up:

1. Put your snow tires on the back. But, four are better than two.

2. Check the tread on your tire

3. If you hit ice, don't pump your brakes

4. If you skid, turn into it

5. Pack an emergency kit

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