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Another View: Being prepared for winter roads can save lives

Winter is officially here, which means snow- and ice-covered vehicles and roadways.

Last Thursday, the Lehigh Valley experienced its first taste of winter weather with snow, sleet and a wintry mix of snow and rain.

Recently I read an article titled “New Pa. Law Forces Motorists to Clear Snow, Ice off Vehicles” in the November/December 2022 issue of the AAA Traveler.

According to the article, “Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed Christine’s Law into effect July 11, which requires motorists to thoroughly remove all snow and ice from their vehicles before driving.”

The articles further states, state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-18th, first introduced this legislation in 2006 in response to the death of Christine Lambert on Christmas Day 2005 after a 10-inch chuck of ice dislodged from a box truck and crashed through her windshield.

Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central director of legislative affairs, is quoted as saying, “This new law will help to improve road safety for Pennsylvanians.

“Snow and/or ice which has accumulated on a vehicle can be hazardous. It not only decreases visibility but may blow off the vehicle and cause serious injury and/or death to other roadway users,” she added.

The article further states, “Under the new law, drivers have up to 24 hours after a snowstorm ends to clear the accumulation off their vehicles. Following the allotted time, the law takes effect and motorists could be pulled over for the violation.”

In addition to cleaning the snow and ice off your vehicle, having it in proper working order is the best way to drive safely during hazardous winter conditions.

Several ways to prepare your vehicle for winter driving include:

• Replace worn-out tires or have properly aired tires on your vehicle because having good traction during hazardous winter conditions is important.

• Make sure the defroster and heater, as well as all lights and wipers, are working properly and the battery is fully charged.

• Top off all fluid levels, especially the windshield fluid level.

• Make sure your vehicle has enough gas in the tank to prevent it from freezing.

• Before departing, make sure your seat and mirrors are in the correct position so you can drive safely and see other motorists approaching your vehicle.

Other things to consider when driving this winter season:

• Allow yourself extra time to arrive at your destination, and drive slowly.

• Allow extra stopping distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.

• Try to avoid driving when visibility is poor.

• Stay off your cellphone while driving, and keep distractions to a minimum.

Make sure you have emergency supplies such as flares, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, blanket, water, nonperishable food, a cellphone charger and a bag of salt or kitty litter should you break down or get stranded due to a road closure. Make sure your phone is fully charged before departing.

Also, when traveling this winter, be respectful of other motorists on the roadways and highways.

But, most importantly, use common sense when driving in winter road conditions.

Let’s all follow the advice provided by AAA about cleaning the snow off our vehicles, as well as preparing our vehicle for winter driving conditions.

Making driving safe for everyone this winter can save lives.

Susan Bryant

editorial assistant

Parkland Press

Northwestern Press