Safe Winter Driving in North Carolina

From snow in the mountains to ice on the coast, winter weather in North Carolina can run the gamut. This can make driving during winter tricky. If you plan on doing any traveling throughout the state this winter, learn about these important driving tips that can keep you safe.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Getting your vehicle ready for winter driving is one of the most important things you can do to safely handle changing conditions on the road. This includes making sure you have a full tank of gas, appropriate levels of antifreeze, good windshield wipers, properly inflated tires with enough tread, and a charged battery that’s working properly. You should also have an emergency supply kit in your trunk in case you get stranded. This kit should include a blanket, flashlight, shovel, first-aid kit, water, non-perishable snacks, and sand or kitty litter in case you get stuck.

Take it Slow

If you have to drive during inclement weather, reduce your speed and never use cruise control. Since it takes longer to slow down on snowy and icy roads, you should leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. You also don’t want to make any sudden movements. Keep your steering, accelerating, and braking as smooth and as even as possible. Also, use caution when approaching a bridge or overpass since they accumulate ice first.

Don’t Panic if You Slide

If you start sliding when you’re on the road, do not panic, slam on your brakes, or jerk your steering wheel. If possible, try not to use your brakes at all. They could cause you to lose further control of your vehicle. Instead, take your foot off of the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Wait until your vehicle slows down enough to regain traction before you gently press on the accelerator again. If you have to use your brakes, apply gentle and steady pressure.

Don’t Spin Your Wheels if You Get Stuck

If you get stuck in the snow, don’t spin your wheels. This will only cause the tires to dig you in deeper. Instead, use a shovel to clear as much as snow as possible from in front of and behind your tires. You can also use your steering wheel to turn your tires from side to side to help clear the snow. Then, spread sand or kitty litter in the cleared areas to give your tires something to grip. Keep your tires straight and gently accelerate your vehicle out of the snow.

When in Doubt, Stay Home

If the weather is bad and you don’t have to venture out, it’s best to stay home. If you’re out on the road and you don’t feel comfortable, you can pull over to a safe area and either wait for conditions to clear or call a friend or family member to come get you.

Winter weather in North Carolina is often unpredictable. However, you can make your trip safer by remembering these safe winter driving tips.

Posted in Car Tips