Navigating a snow storm is a difficult and treacherous task. This is especially true for residents in the northern part of the United States and along the Canadian border. Winter always brings a significant amount of snow in this region where lake-effect snow from the Great Lakes can converge with rain systems moving up the east coast. This sets the stage for a classic nor’easter, which is a regular event on the eastern seaboard. Everyone should have an emergency pack in the vehicle, but there are some general rules on what situations to avoid when driving in dangerous weather conditions.

Evaluate Road Conditions
Temperatures normally stay near or below the freezing point in snow events, so any precipitation may also occur while previous snow fall is still on the ground. This is particularly true at higher elevations. The combination of weather events results in significant stretches of time where all individual forms of transportation are done on snow-covered roadways. Many cars have difficulty here, but cars sports utility vehicles can usually be effective in reasonable conditions due to their ability to switch into 4×4. Regular drivers must develop a knack for driving in hazardous conditions, with the primary focus being awareness and significantly reduced speeds.
Avoiding the Ice
Ice is practically impossible to navigate safely. Patches of ice can be just as damaging as solid ice because it can instigate a sliding situation, which endangers everyone in your pathway since neither you nor they have vehicular control. Depending on the situation though, tire chains can be effective. Motorists should always remember that chains are only for emergency conditions in deep snow and ice. Studded tires might also help, but they are still a short term alternative. It is just best to avoid ice altogether though, because other drivers may not be as considerate or observant of dangerous conditions. 

Do Not Drive Any Motor Vehicle Impaired
Driving any motored vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a chargeable offense and can land an impaired driver in huge trouble. This obviously also includes operating cars purposely built for navigating snow. Alcohol use is very problematic for irresponsible users. Not only is it illegal as any DUI lawyer in Massachusetts or Vermont will tell you, but the capacity for bad judgement is intensified and reactions to hazardous conditions are greatly reduced. Being able to react quickly in a skidding or sliding situation is hard enough for sober drivers. It’s the best policy never to drive drunk, but especially not when there is snow or ice on the roads. Even a short trip to the store can result in several more to the courthouse. Accidents happen far more often during inclement conditions, so the opportunity for very serious accidents increases.

Many drivers do not realize that any blood alcohol content level can constitute a charge for driving under the influence. This is a bad practice in good weather, but it’s especially dangerous in bad weather. Minimal amounts of alcohol can result in a reckless driving charge, even if the operator is not impaired enough for a DUI conviction. The fact that someone was driving impaired in inclement weather can be a material fact in any case and might impact punishment. Accidents happen, regardless of impairment, and automatic negligence is common in cases involving impaired drivers.

Saam Banai is a freelance writer and editor, and he has spent years navigating the snowy roads of the north and avoiding drunk drivers. Jack Diamond is an experienced DUI lawyer in Massachusetts who has over a decade of experience representing drunk drivers in and around Boston. As an accomplished and passionate attorney, he will deal with your case involving intoxication, accident, and field sobriety with expertise and compassion.