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Winter Driving Safety for North Carolina Drivers

Winter Driving Safety is important and may prevent injury to your family or loved ones. In North Carolina most of our state gets little snow and ice during the year except a few months during the winter. As a result more care is needed in driving during bad weather due to lack of practice.

AAA makes several recommendations for winter driving safety and taking trips during the winter to prevent motor vehicle collisions and injuries. Among those recommendations AAA includes:

1. Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.

2. Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.

3. Pack a cellular telephone with your local AAA's telephone number, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medication in your vehicle.

4. If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don't try to walk in a severe storm. It's easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.

5. Make sure the exhaust pipe isn't clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.

When driving in Snow AAA recommends

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. 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.

D. 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.

E. 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.

F. 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.

For many NC drivers these tips are important and may prevent serious injury or harm. Remember during the winter a little extra time and careful preparation can prevent an injury to your family.  If you are injured as a result of an automobile collision despite doing your best Winter driving for safety, a previous blog describes what you may need to know.

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