Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Safety tips for winter weather travel

The winter storm headed to North Carolina is expected to impact state roadways. (Photo by Christina Haley.)
The winter storm headed to North Carolina is expected to impact state roadways. (Photo by Christina Haley.)

SOUTHEASTERN, NORTH CAROLINA — Winter weather is coming to North Carolina, and if you’re traveling the state this weekend, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is urging safety.

Highway Patrol is requesting motorists use caution when traveling. Driving conditions could deteriorate over the weekend, as winter precipitation is expected to fall across the state, accumulating on roadways, bridges and overpasses.

While light winter precipitation of less than an inch is expected for the Cape Fear region, moderate impacts of snowfall will hit the state further inland, according to the National Weather Service.

To check the status of road conditions before travel, motorists are asked to go to the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s website. Officials are requesting the public to dial 911 and *HP for emergency purposes only. 

North Carolina State Highway Patrol has issued the following safety tips to keep in mind while traveling this weekend. 

For driving considerations, Highway Patrol suggests:

  • Leave early to allow more travel time; expect delays.
  • Reduce speed; driving at a lower speed enables the ability to stop and allows for greater reaction time if approaching hazards within the roadway.
  • Increase distance between vehicles; it takes significantly longer to stop on snow covered    or icy roadways.
  • Clear all windows on your vehicle prior to travel; having unobstructed vision is vital to avoid running off of the road or becoming involved in a collision.
  • Illuminate headlamps.
  • Use caution on bridges and overpasses as they susceptible to freezing before roadways.
  • Avoid using cruise control; cruise control can cause the vehicle’s wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased.

Be prepared for winter travel:

  • Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded for an extended period of time.
  • Charge your cellular phone prior to departure.
  • Take a blanket.
  • Notify a family member or a friend of your travel plans prior to departure; if you travel is interrupted, someone will know.

Here’s what to do if you are in a collision or stranded:

  • Be patient; weather also limits first responders and increases response time.
  • Attempt to move your vehicle out of the roadway if you are involved in a minor, non-injury traffic collision; especially if you are in a dangerous area such as a curve or a blind hill.
  • If you find yourself stranded, stay with your vehicle. Motorists who leave their vehicle attempting to obtain assistance could easily succumb to the freezing temperatures. 
  • Motorists should not leave their vehicles abandoned on the shoulders of public roadways; owners of vehicles left abandoned within city limits need to call the respective local police department. Owners of vehicles towed outside of a municipality should refer to the Department of Public Safety website and click on Vehicles Towed/Stored

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