"People need to act responsibly in these situations," Cuomo said.
But many workers didn't have the option of taking off early Friday, Arena noted. The 41-year-old sales account manager headed home from an optical supply business in Ronkonkoma around 4 p.m. She soon found her SUV stuck along a road in nearby Farmingville.
"Even though we would dig ourselves out and push forward, the snow kept piling, and therefore we all got stuck, all of us," she recalled later at Brookhaven Town Hall, where several dozen stranded motorists were taken after being rescued. Many others opted to stay with their cars.
Richard Ebbrecht left his Brooklyn chiropractic office around 3 p.m. for his home in Middle Island, about 60 miles away, calculating that he could make the drive home before the worst of the blizzard set in. He was wrong.
As the snow came rushing down faster than he'd foreseen, he got stuck six or seven times on the expressway and on other roads. Drivers began helping each other shovel and push, he said, but to no avail. He finally gave up and spent the night in his car on a local thoroughfare, only about two miles from his home.
"I could run my car and keep the heat on and listen to the radio a little bit," he said.
He walked home around at 8 a.m., leaving his car.
Late-shifters including Wayne Jingo had little choice but to risk it if they wanted to get home. By early afternoon, he'd been stuck in his pickup truck alongside the Long Island Expressway for nearly 12 hours.