Articles Posted in Snow and Ice

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. National_Postal_Museum

commerce-acts-books-477966-mWhat’s true for the post office is true for other drivers – cars, trucks and motorcycles. Getting around the North Shore on its highways (Route 93, Route 1, Route 128) or its byways in and around Lynn, Reading, Wakefield, Saugus, Lynnfield or wherever your home town is, means traveling in all sorts of conditions. Getting to and from work, after work socializing, heading to the Garden for a Bruins or Celtics game – wet or snowy weather doesn’t prevent us from our appointed rounds. Getting to the destination safely when visibility is affected by lousy weather may depend on windshield visibility. Visibility is a challenge when it is snowing and from the salt and spray after a storm. Well maintained and clean windshield wipers can help keep the glass clear of snow and ice and help your visibility in snowy conditions. It can prevent a car accident.

Replacing your windshield wiper blades regularly will help keep your windshield clear.  According to JiffyLube, “over time, rubber elements in your windshield wiper blades break down due to oxidation and damage from the sun, becoming stiff and brittle. They also wear out from rubbing back and forth across the glass surface. Eventually, worn windshield wipers leave streaks and blurry spots, affecting your ability to see the road ahead”.  You don’t want to be caught in a winter storm or have impaired vision due to road spray from ineffective windshield wipers.  According to RainX, you should replace your windshield wipers every 6 months to a year or whenever you notice a difference is visibility.  RainX suggests changing your windshield wipers on Groundhog Day as a helpful way to remember to do so.  It also suggests inspecting your wiper blades as part of routine maintenance.

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Winter driving has unique challenges. From Lynnfield to Saugus to Salem and all North Shore Towns in between, winter weather causes roads like Route 1, Route 93 and Route 128 to become icy and slick. Paying attention to car safety before hitting the road can help make sure you have a safe and comfortable trip regardless of the wintery weather.

commerce-acts-books-477966-mThere are several areas of your car you may want to pay extra attention to.  According to SafeMotorist.com one of the first things a driver should check are the headlights and taillights.  Visibility due to winter conditions can be decreased – from the weather or from road spray or even how early it gets dark this time of year. Properly working lights will help other cars see you even when visibility is low.

You also need to have good tires on your car for the winter months.  Tires are designed to grip the road and properly inflated tires with excellent tread may be one of your best defenses against slippery roads.  You want to make sure your tires are not bald, worn or improperly inflated.  Auto experts suggest rotating tires twice a year to help prolong their life, and also having tires aligned once a year.  Among the most important thing you should pay attention to is tire pressure. The colder it is the lower your tire pressure will drop. While checking your tire pressure it is also a good time to look for signs of uneven wear, embedded objects or bubbles in the sidewall of your tire. SafeMotorist.com also reminds drivers not to neglect the spare tire.  You should make sure the spare tire is properly inflated in case of an emergency.

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Navigating North Shore roadways can be difficult during the snowy and icy New England winters.  From the interstate highways of Routes 93 and 95 to the State maintained roads including Route 1 (the old Newburyport Turnpike) and Routes 114, 129 and 128, difficult driving conditions due to the weather and roadway congestion can result in accidents and injury.  commerce-acts-books-477966-mThe New Year is a good time to refresh our thinking about proper car safety to help minimize risk.  According to Mass.gov, “approximately 70% of winter deaths related to snow and ice occur in automobiles”.  We have already experienced some winter weather, with a coating of snow and dangerous layer of ice.  It will likely get more challenging in the coming months. Preparing your car for winter can really make a difference.  Some suggestions: (1) keep your gas tank at least half-full to prevent your fuel line from freezing; (2) install good winter tires with adequate tread and pressure; and (3) check your antifreeze, battery, defroster, windshield wipers, wiper fluid, and other vehicle equipment to make sure they are ready for winter driving.  Be prepared, plan ahead and stay safe.

It also is sensible to listen to traffic and weather reports for your departure location and destination. Allow for extra travel time if the road conditions may be slippery or changeable.  Being prepared for icy or snowy roadways, check that your defroster is working and that you have a good ice scraper and emergency flares handy.  Clear ice and snow from windows, headlights, taillights and the roof and hood of your car before departing.  It can be dangerous when snow and ice fly from your car and inadvertently hit another vehicle. Also, know that there is a new law in Massachusetts as of April 7, 2015 whereby all car operators must use headlights whenever windshield wipers are on or if visibility is poor.  Further, slow down and use caution on bridges and highway ramps since bridges and overpasses freeze faster than roadways; and always leave extra braking distance between you and the car in front of you, as stopping distances are longer on wet or icy roads.

It is crucial to practice good care safety year round, not just in the winter.  According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles:

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After a day of feasting and football (will the Lions ever be good?), Americans will gear up for a day filled with holiday shopping—Black Friday.  The stores at the North Shore Mall, the Burlington Mall, the Square One Mall, and Lynnfield Market Street have been advertising deals for weeks and folks will begin lining up at the doors once Thanksgiving dinner is finished.  Shopping on Black Friday has become a family tradition for many, with the anticipation of saving money on Holiday gifts.  Finding that special bargain is part of the fun.  With some stores it even starts on Thanksgiving night, goodness!

commerce-acts-books-477966-mAlong with the excitement of Black Friday comes an increased risk of accidents.  Mall parking lots will be swamped with pedestrians, shopping carts, frenzied drivers, children of all ages and sizes excited for the holiday, and cars searching for parking spots near the mall entrances.  The potential for accidents sky rockets.  According to Progressive Insurance, parking related accidents increase 36.5% on Black Friday.  Progressive reports that rear-ending someone or getting rear-ended, accounts for 12.57% of claims; hitting a parked car or having your parked car hit by someone else, totals 11.13% of claims; and backing into another car or having your car backed into, accounts for 7.68% of claims.  Not only are car accidents an issue but the potential for slip and falls in parking lots increases too.  It is not unusual in Massachusetts to experience inclement weather around Thanksgiving and some years it has been cold enough for ice and snow on walkways and parking areas; which means an increased risk for slips and falls and car accidents.  To help avoid accidents, wear winter footwear and be aware of changing conditions.  Black ice is not unheard of on Black Friday.

After safely getting past the hazards in the parking lots on Black Friday, the shopping starts.  Now begins the potential for accidents while meandering in the mall or price checking in the stores.  When stores first open on Black Friday, there is also the risk of overly enthusiastic shoppers who have been waiting to get started since the early hours of the morning.  When those doors open it’s possible that someone could be injured in a stampede to get to the special sale items.  According to the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, retailers should practice crowd management during known busy shopping days such as Black Friday to avoid any accidents.  Slip and fall accidents are also prevalent in stores.  Wet floors (if the weather is bad), large crowds, pushing or shoving can all lead to slips and falls.  Head and body injuries from careless elbows or falling merchandise can be serious and ruin the holidays with unexpected pain, discomfort and doctor visits.

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The first Nor’easter has come and gone, dumping mostly rain but also leaving a coating of ice and snow on our roadways. The North Shore and Western Massachusetts were hardest hit. This early December storm could be the harbinger of a snowy winter as Harvey and Barry (Boston Meteorologists) predict this winter will be cold with a lot of precipitation.

Despite harsh winter weather, New Englanders do not let snowy roads stop them from their activities.  Many of us welcome the snow because it means prime conditions in the Berkshires for skiing and boarding.  Rarely is work affected as our offices usually don’t close from snow storms.  We are a hardy bunch. Continue reading →

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It has been a glorious summer in Massachusetts.  Warm, dry, and sunny.  But, winter is on the horizon.  Last year was a cold and snowy winter and we may be in store for more of the same.

The average yearly snowfall on the Massachusetts Northshore ranges from 40.8 inches in Marblehead to over 48 inches per year in Haverhill.  In Boston, Lynnfield and Saugus the average yearly snowfall is 44 inches.  In addition we have ice storms, sleet and freezing rain, all of which cause slippery driveways and sidewalks.

Sure, it’s beautiful looking out the window as the flakes fall who doesn’t recall the exhilaration of building snow forts, throwing snow balls and sledding with friends.  Throughout the Northshore of Massachusetts we take pride that snow and ice does not shut down our lives.  We venture out to shovel our walk, we head out on the icy and snowy roads and we have confidence in the skills of the plow drivers to keep our highways clear.

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