BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As the flakes begin to fly, AAA encourages drivers to make sure they have what they need in their cars to be safe in the storm.

“The winter driving skills, we need to dust those off.” said Elizabeth Carey, Director of Public Relations of AAA WNY & CNY. “You want to make sure you control your speed, that’s the number one thing you can control, so go slow, make sure you’re able to control a vehicle.”

As the storm is on its way, government officials are urging drivers to stay off the roads, but if you do plan on hitting the roads, AAA says it’s important to keep some items in your car that are valuable while stuck on the side of the road.

“What we recommend is some basic tools like jumper cables — if you have some basic tools, flashlights-type of thing. If you’re broken down, that’s going to help emergency tools find you and it’s going to be getting cold, so you want to make sure you have a blanket in the car, also some warm clothes, snacks and water.” said Carey.

And if you do get stuck on the side of the road, Carey says staying in the car is safer than leaving your vehicle and walking.

“It’s better to stay buckled in, where you’re safe, because sometimes a second vehicle might skid in the same direction,” said Carey. “Some of the number one things when the snow gets so bad, the calls we get are people saying they are stuck in deep snow, or they’ve gone off the road. So, if you do go off the road, remind everyone to stay buckled in and call 9/11, unless the snow is piling up so high that maybe your tailgate would be covered in snow, and you need to go clear that pipe. Otherwise, it’s better to stay buckled in.”

NYSDOT tells drivers, not only is staying home during the storm the safest option, but it’ll help the cleanup process as well.

“If you do not need to be out on the roads, please stay home.” said Susan Surdej, an engineer and public information officer for NYSDOT.

She says their crews will be working around the clock, to clear off the roads.

“Any time we have snow predicted in the forecast, we are working 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so our facilities, our maintenance facilities, are fully staffed and will be fully staffed 24 hours a day, throughout the duration of the storm.”

To keep up with the storm, be sure to check into News 4’s 4Warn Weather to stay up to date.

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Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.