It's winter in CT and it always seems to sneak up on us.

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For those of us who have lived and been driving in Connecticut our whole lives, you'd think we would be prepared and know what to do, but that's not the case. The first couple snow storms each year seem to be a disaster on the roads.

Everyone thinks they know, everyone thinks they are a great driver but we learn pretty quick each winter that is not the case. So, what to do? The CT DOT has some helpful tips that include:

  • Keep your car in shape. Have the engine tuned. Check headlamps, tire tread, brakes, windshield washer fluid, heater and other safety equipment. Keep the fuel tank filled, topping it off before reaching half a tank. Carry a flashlight, flares, sand, a shovel and spare change for a phone call.
  • Clear car windows, hood and roof before starting to drive.
  • Keep windshield wipers and defoggers in good condition. Visibility is not only a good safety idea, it's a state law. A snowbrush, ice scraper and gloves are a wise investment.
  • Travel on main routes. The most traveled roadways are usually cleared and treated first. A short cut down a back road might not save any time if the road hasn't been plowed. Also, if help is required, main roads are usually the best patrolled.
  • Ride together to work -- in a carpool or vanpool or, if possible, take the bus or train. Leave the car at home or at a CTDOT Park & Ride Lot. Road-clearing operations will be more successful with fewer vehicles on the road. Plus, riding together saves money and gasoline, reduces auto wear and tear, reduces harmful emissions and is more enjoyable.
  • Try to avoid travel during rush hours. Commuters should ask employers about "flexing" work hours during a winter storm. Avoiding peak travel hours will give road crews added time to work, while letting commuters avoid most of the traffic.
  • Always assume road conditions are worse than they are and allow additional travel time. Drive cautiously and courteously.
  • Tune to radio stations (I95 AKA 95.1FM and the I-95 Rock Mobile App) and internet sites that provide regular weather bulletins and reports on road conditions.

They also say to stay clear of plows, don't plow driveway snow onto state roads and make sure your tires have the appropriate tread. We all knew what THEY would say but what about the common sense items? Here are some things I've seen on CT roads that need to stop:

  • Don't drive slow in the fast lane, you are not the boss of how fast people should drive. I know you think you know everything but if someone chooses to drive faster than you think they should that is there business. Move over tough guy.
  • Let's get illegal ATV's and motorcycles off the highways and roads. I'm a thrill seeker too, I know the rush of adrenaline you get when you do something dangerous on a motorcycle but main roads and highways are not the place for it. If you love ATV's so much, get a cabin in West Virginia and have at it. Your need to pump your adrenaline is not everyone else's problem.
  • The DOT mentioned it in their list but it needs to be repeated, clear the snow and ice off of your car before getting on the road. I don't need to be dodging ice chunk missiles at 70 mph on I-84 because you couldn't take the extra 15 seconds to finish the job.
  • If you're too scared to drive in the snow and ice, don't.
  • If you're a person who looks constantly surprised that other cars make turns, shift lanes and are on the road, don't be on the road.
  • Don't be an idiot.

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