Ruidoso Winter Driving Tips
Before You Go
Stock Your Vehicle
Even if you and your vehicle are prepared, crashes happen. Vehicles break down. Any of us can get caught out in the elements and help might not be just around the corner. Make sure your vehicle is stocked to help get you out of trouble or to keep you safe until help arrives. Even if you don’t need emergency resources, they can all be used to help someone in need on the road. Keep the following items in your vehicle during the winter months:
Flares or emergency lights
Snow shovel, broom, or ice scraper
Water, food, or medication needed for a longer trip
Plan Your Travel and Route
Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather.
Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic at nmroads.com, NMDOT’s official travel information system for up-to-the-minute road conditions.
Don’t rush; allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Plan to leave early if necessary.
Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.
Keep your gas tank close to full, even with a hybrid-electric vehicle. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you might need more fuel than you anticipated to get home or to keep warm.
If road conditions are hazardous, avoid driving. Wait until road and weather conditions improve before venturing out in your vehicle.
On the Road
Driving in Winter Conditions
Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
Know whether your vehicle has an antilock brake system and learn how to use it properly. Antilock brake systems prevent your wheels from locking up during braking. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure to the brake pedal. If you don’t have antilock brakes, you may need to pump your brakes if you feel your wheels starting to lock up.
Navigating Around Snow Plows
Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside it. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently.
The road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it or use caution when passing.
When you are driving behind a snow plow, don’t follow or stop too closely. A snow plow operator’s field-of-vision is limited; if you can't see the mirrors, the driver can't see you. Also, materials used to de-ice the road could hit your vehicle.
Snow plows can throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Never drive into a snow cloud – it can conceal vehicles or hazards.
What to Do in a Winter Emergency
If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, follow these safety rules:
Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.
To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm.