PATERSON, NJ- While the forecast for the coming days predicts a welcome respite from the cold and snow we’ve experienced through much of January, winter is far from over.

It’s with this in mind that longtime Paterson business-owner Mario Tommolillo of Classic Auto Body shared the following tips for driving in the snow from AAA with TAPinto readers.

“Driving safely always comes down to one simple thing, paying attention. There is no place for multi-tasking in the driver’s seat,” stated Tommolillo. “There are so many distractions around us, from ringing phones to a desire to find something better on the radio. The best way to arrive to your destination safely is to focus on the road!”

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Additionally, AAA recommends the following:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Tommolillo further reminded TAPinto that all occupants should always wear their seatbelts, vehicle owners should remove all snow from their cars before hitting the roads, and that keeping a half a tank of gas in their car helps to avoid fuel lines from freezing. While some drivers may be tempted to start their cars to let them warm up, this poses safety risks such as theft and exposure to carbon monoxide if they are left running in unventilated areas such as garages.

“Of course we are in the business of auto body repair, and with the most sophisticated equipment and continued training, we believe we are the best around. Our employees, mostly Paterson residents, truly take pride in their work,” Tommolillo said of his shop located at 33 Beckwith Avenue. “While we hope that everyone reading this will take the tips seriously, and never need repairs, we are here to help, and to provide top quality service to get their car looking like new!”