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After mild winter, DOT encourages drivers to prepare for upcoming season

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Buffalo: After mild winter, DOT encourages drivers to prepare for upcoming season
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Last winter was a break from the usual here in Western New York, but this winter might not be the same. And YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti reports, as the snowy season approaches, the New York State Department of Transportation wants to make sure drivers are ready.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- While sunshine and mild conditions are filling the forecast, winter is just weeks away. And it's expected to bring along more typical conditions for Western New York.

"We know it's going to be at least snowier and colder compared with last winter, with last year being pretty much a non-winter, being one of the warmest, least snowiest winters we've seen in quite some time," said Dan Russell, one of YNN's meteorologists.

The New York State Department of Transportation is preparing to clear the roads of whatever Mother Nature dishes out and advises the public to prepare too.

"We're probably a little out of practice, and we really want people to remember those driving skills and think about driving safely," said Darrell Kaminski, acting regional director for NYSDOT Region 5.

The DOT recommends drivers check road conditions, plan ahead for travel and make sure their vehicle is ready for the season.

And, the DOT has resources available online including conditions throughout the state, a video about how to recover from a skid and winter driving tips.

"Don't follow the plows too closely, be patient," said Kaminski.

"Our trucks travel no more than 35 miles per hour, now that's whether they're on an expressway or on a two-lane roadway," said Charles Morgante, operations director for NYSDOT Region 5.

Morgante says that's to make the plows more efficient and effective while clearing the roads.

"While you're plowing, you're shifting, you're raising and lowering your wing, you're controlling your salt on the back, you control how much salt you're putting down," said Rick Martinez, a highway maintenance worker for the NYSDOT.

So that makes it even more important for other drivers to be cautious around them.

"Very dangerous when people start to pass our snowplows or get too close," said Morgante.

He also says passing a plow can cause you to spin out, and the area ahead might not be treated.

"All we ask is people stay back. If they stay back, let us clear the road, get a good layer of material down, then they'll have a nice clear road so they can get to work," said Martinez.

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