NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As a winter storm rolls into New Mexico Wednesday, snow and rain are expected to fall around the state. This type of weather can lead to dangerous driving conditions.

This system is bringing widespread Winter Storm Warnings across the state, from the Gila and Sacramento Mountains to the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Up to two feet is possible over the San Juan Mountains, with lesser amounts further south. The Albuquerque metro has the potential to pick up a few flurries late Wednesday into Thursday morning.

With winter storms approaching the state this week, proper planning can help keep New Mexicans safe. Below are some safety tips to keep in mind ahead of winter weather.

Weather Information

AAA, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, the National Safety Council and the New Mexico Department of Transportation offer tips to stay safe while driving in winter weather.

  • Be prepared before you go: Make sure you have plenty of fuel and adequate windshield washer fluid and antifreeze. Check the inflation on your tires and remove snow from your vehicle, including headlights and taillights. Keep a flashlight, phone charger, sand or kitty litter, blanket, first aid supplies, water, and snacks in the vehicle.
  • Plan ahead: Check the forecast and the latest road conditions by calling 511 or visiting Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and expect delays.
  • Wear your seatbelt: Make sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained.
  • Take it slow: The best crash prevention on snow and ice is to SLOW DOWN.
  • Avoid using cruise control: Never use cruise control when the roads are slick. It can reduce your control of the vehicle if your tires begin to skid or slip
  • Steer in the direction of a skid.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Increase your following distance.
  • Know your brakes: It takes more time to stop in adverse conditions and stopping too quickly can cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Use caution on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas: these areas typically freeze first and take longer to thaw.
  • Don’t crowd the plow or other drivers: Allow plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. It requires up ten times the distance to stop in snowy and icy weather. Keep at least a 50 foot or five car length distance between you and a snow.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it.
  • Don’t power up hills.

PNM safety tips in case of an outage

In case the storm causes a power outage, PNM has some safety tips to keep in mind.

(Courtesy: PNM)
  • Consider the need for specialty items in your kit, such as prescription medication, baby food, pet food, additional warm clothing and a safe heat source. 
  • If you experienced a storm/outage and used any of your supplies in your outage kit, replenish those supplies in preparation for potential future storms.
  • Keep a portable radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio on hand to monitor official weather forecasts and other important information for your area.
  • Have a backup plan to move yourself and your family, especially those with medical needs, to an alternate location in case you have to evacuate or experience an extended power outage.
  • Homeowners who depend on well water should draw an emergency water supply in case power to their electric water pumps is interrupted.
  • If you have an emergency heating or power source, learn how to use it properly well before storm season. 
  • Stay away from downed or sagging power lines. Consider all downed power lines and anything touching them energized and dangerous! Do not get near them and report the problem by calling PNM immediately at 888-DIAL-PNM.
  • Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, school yards, etc.).
  • During severe weather or power outages, turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. After the power is restored, to help avoid damage, wait around 10 minutes before turning them back on.
  • If a power line falls across a car that you’re in, stay in the car and call 911. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
  • Snow and ice accumulations on overhead power lines can cause the lines to break and fall to the ground. Stay away from any lines that may have fallen, and call PNM. 
  • Understand that in areas of the state that are prone to severe winter weather, having alternate means of warming your residence, and extra food and water is important. Snow and mud may prevent us from quickly reestablishing service, especially in remote areas.