GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (WTEN) — The first signs of winter are here in the Capital Region and AAA is recommending all drivers take steps to prepare their cars, and themselves, for the long winter months ahead and that includes grabbing a snow brush and clearing off your car.

“Clean off the whole car not just clearing little periscope holes in the park windshield and the back window,” Michael Sweeney, Traffic Safety Educator with AAA Hudson Valley, said. “You have to clear the roof, you have to clear the lighting. A lot of people haven’t gotten used to the idea of clearing their backup cameras and their sensors.” 

Clearing off your car is only part of keeping yourself safe on snowy roads. Sweeney said it’s also a good idea to have spare warm clothes, blankets, and washer fluid available in your car for any potential winter weather emergencies.

Sweeney adds it’s key to check your tire tread but, most importantly, review your driving habits.

“Every year you hear people say ‘Do people forget how to drive in the snow, why is the first snow storm so bad?’ and I don’t necessarily think it’s that they forget how to drive in the snow, it’s the bad habits we get in the good weather,” Sweeney said. “You drive a little too quick, a little too close, and we don’t realize that every time you hit the brakes the car isn’t always going to slow down.” 

Sweeney said no matter how prepared you are, taking extra time or alternate routes to get to work could be the best option in harsher winter storms. It could also save others out on the roads.

“You have to start readjusting to the idea of leaving a lot of extra room between you and the car in front of you, not going into an elevated ramp at a high speed and assuming you can slow down once you’re on the ramp,” Sweeney said. “You have to do a lot more speed control on and off the gas, not on and off the brake.”