The Massachusetts Department of Transportation sent out a warning today advising motorists across the state that winter weather is fast approaching.

 

A Nor’easter is expected tonight, and is forecast to produce varying roadway conditions from icy conditions to snow cover and leave drivers contending with heavy and freezing rains in some areas.



To prepare for the coming wintry weather, motorists should check all fluids, make sure their radiator is winterized, maintain a gas tank above half-full and keep windshield washing fluid on hand, MassDOT officials said.

 

A winter survival kit should include an ice scraper and shovel, flashlight, jumper cables, flares, sand for traction, extra clothing or blankets, a first-aid kit and non-perishable food.



"Use the brake and gas pedal lightly when driving in icy conditions and watch for bridges, which freeze before roadways. Do not use cruise control in icy conditions," said MassDOT Spokeswoman Sara Lavoie. "Clear frost from windows and mirrors. And remember that exit ramps may have less sand and salt on them than the highway."



Lavoie said that motorists should remember that the road in front of the plow is usually in much worse condition than the roadway behind the plow. Plows will typically travel under 35 miles per hour and there is always a temptation to pass them. For safety purposes, it is recommended to stay a safe distance behind snowplows.



In wintry weather, motorists should drive with headlights on, observe posted speed limits, never drink and drive, make sure everyone is using a seat belt and be on the lookout for changing weather conditions. Other safety precautions include obeying warning signs, keeping a safe distance between vehicles and using four-way flashers when stopped in traffic or traveling slowly.