After first major snow of the year, keep these winter tips in mind

You need ice to be four inches deep for it to be safe to walk on

A van is removed from the side of a road by a tow truck in Southwick on Saturday, December 9, 2017.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – With the arrival of the first significant snowfall of the season Saturday, it’s definitely time to break out the winter gear – and with it, some winter knowledge to protect yourself and your family.


As you can imagine, area police departments were busy Saturday with dozens of accidents reported. None of those reported were serious. Southwick Police say there were multiple spin-outs and fender-benders within minutes of each other, and one person was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. Tow companies were busy too, handling all the accidents.

It’s a good idea for drivers in any kind of winter weather to slow down. Driving too fast in poor winter conditions reduces your tires’ ability to grip the road; that can lead to your car fishtailing, spinning out, or worse, getting into an accident.

Keep in mind that roads don’t even have to be visibly messy to give you traction problems. Black ice is common after snow melts and refreezes, and can be difficult to see as you approach.


A reminder about snow clearing responsibilities following a winter storm – check with your town about what the requirements are for clearing snow from your property.

For example, in Southampton, a town bylaw requires you to clear the sidewalks in front of your home within 24 hours after a storm, or you could face a fine. Ludlow has a similar ordinace, and residents there are also not allowed to shovel the snow into the street.


As the temperatures drop and the ponds and lakes across western Massachusetts begin to freeze over, we also have a reminder about safety on the ice.

The recent cold temperatures don’t mean that the ice over bodies of water is safe to go out on. Be sure you know how thick the ice is on any body of water before you go out.

Naturally, the higher the weight of the object on the ice, the thicker the ice will need to be to support that weight. If the thickness is under two inches, it’s recommended that you stay off, as the ice will not be strong enough to hold a person.

You need ice to be four inches deep for it to be safe to walk on, and five inches to drive a snowmobile or ATV onto.

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