I’ve been living in Syracuse, New York all my life. Indeed, I have personally seen some of the worst driving conditions that Syracuse has to offer. If you’re a tourist or just someone new to driving in the snow, here’s a few things to keep in mind, especially while in Syracuse.
Try to avoid the highways. Route 81 especially. Route 81 south is extremely busy in the mornings, and traffic can be packed in as tight as a tin of sardines. However, even when there’s measurable snow on the ground, traffic keeps up at relatively high speeds. Don’t be afraid to slow down and take things easy, stick to the left lane and keep a steady pace that you’re comfortable with. Also, keep in mind that on highways, the plows don’t have the chance to clean as evenly as they do on the streets, since they’re so wide. This makes switching lanes very difficult because there will be a thin strip of snow in between each lane. This may not seem like a big problem, but changing lanes too quickly can easily cause your vehicle to slip.
On the topic of plows, remember to keep an eye out for them. They’re an extremely common sight in Syracuse in winter. Generally speaking, they’re very hard to miss. They generally have some kind of flashing light to keep anyone from getting in their way. Regardless of this, it’s best to try to give them as much room as possible. They’re quite large, they can move quickly in some situations where your car might not be able to, and, well, have gigantic metal plows attached to them.
Pulling out from parking lots or even your own driveway can be very dangerous due to the snow banks the pile up in mid winter. Make sure you’re willing to be patient and don’t assume you’ll ever be able to zip out before a car coming down the street beats you to it. It’s very easy to get stuck while trying to pull out, and trying to go faster will makes things much worse. You don’t want to get trapped in the middle of the road with heavy traffic going in both directions. Be very careful while approaching the snow banks from parking lots, the snow can get so high that you won’t be able to look to your left or right without getting very close to the street. If you must go forward in this position, do so with extreme caution, and don’t leave until you’re absolutely certain you have a safe passage onto the road. The snow banks can get particularly bad on busy routes, like on route 11 and route 31.
Finally, be sure to carry emergency kits and equipment with you in your car. Make sure you’ve got snow salt, flashlights, jumper cables, an emergency kit, and a way to contact help in case of an accident. Also, keep in mind that these are only some very basic tips, don’t hesitate to take further precautions. Driving in the snow is much different than driving on dry ground, so concentrate carefully, drive slowly, don’t be intimidated into driving faster, and be safe!