SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — Central New Yorkers got their first taste of winter weather today. Still, according to Martin Voss, the Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Transportation, it was only a small one.
“One-hundred twenty [inches of snow] is what we normally expect to get.” Voss said. “We have 802 miles of county highway we’re responsible for and we parcel off about 100 of that to the towns and villages. We also pick up about 200 miles of state road that we plow for them.”
While the Department of Transportation takes on the responsibility for preparing the roads for and clearing them of snow, being safe on those roads before and after falls upon the drivers who use them. Part of doing that means making sure the car itself is prepared for winter weather with antifreeze, appropriate tires and windshield wipers, along with a brush and ice scraper to help clean off the outside of a car. For Syracuse residents like Dustin Bestul though, there’s so much more to driving in the winter than how the car operates. It’s more about how he operates.
“Cautious.” Bestul said. “Slowing everything down, leaving earlier than I would normally. Really it’s just a lot of timing and logistics.”
For Bestul caution is the most important thing a driver can have when winter weather strikes and he’s observed some driver with it and others without it.
“I see a lot of drivers who grew up in an area where there’s not a lot of snow you see that they’re being more cautious.” Bestul said. “Meanwhile you’ll hear people say, ‘well, they don’t know how to drive in the snow’. Then you have people who grew up in it everyday and I’ve noticed they’re the ones I see in the ditches or causing accidents because they say, ‘I’ve done this a thousand times.'”
The affect of seeing that? More caution.
“I just try to stay away.” Bestul said. “I just keep a lot of distance. I don’t know who they are, what their driving abilities are and I’m not willing to risk me or my children’s lives over it.”