AAA Carolinas offer tips on winter driving - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

AAA Carolinas offer tips on safe holiday driving

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WTOC) -

AAA Carolinas is encouraging holiday travelers to practice safe driving habits to keep the roadways safer for everyone.

Drivers are encouraged to slow down, particularly when driving in winter weather conditions, and expect it to take longer to reach their destination. 

AAA Carolinas tips for driving in winter weather and preparing your vehicle for winter travel:

WINTER DRIVING TIPS:

  • Increase your following distance from three to four seconds to eight to ten seconds. On dry pavement at 20 mph it takes about 20 feet to stop. On ice-covered roads at 25 degrees, it takes 145 feet to stop - seven times further. Keep your speed appropriate to the needed stopping distance
  • Brake gradually with steady pressure on the brake. If you begin to skid, steer in the direction you want to go. If you have anti-lock brakes, keep the brake firmly engaged; if you don't have anti-lock brakes, gently depress the brake pedal. Do not slam on your brakes; it can cause you to lose control. If the brakes lock, release the brake and gently brake again while keeping your heel on the floor.
  • Be especially wary on hills. Build momentum at the bottom of the hill and reduce speed when cresting the hill.
  • Stay in the most recently cleared lane on snowy four-lane highways. Avoid changing lanes because of potential control loss when driving over built-up snow between lanes.
  • Avoid cruise control in rainy, click or snowy conditions
  • Be careful crossing bridges and overpasses as these freeze before the regular roadway.
  • Traction is greatest right before the wheels start to spin. Press gently on the accelerator and use a higher (second or third) gear when first getting started. Keep in mind that roads are the slickest during the first 15 minutes of a rain shower.
  • Slow down sooner and gradually when approaching an intersection to allow for more time to react. 
  • Keep your lights on. Using your headlights improves visibility, both yours and other drivers. Many states. North and South Carolina included, require your headlights to be on when your windshield wipers are in use.

WINTER PREPARATION TIPS:

  • Check your battery for its charge, cold cranking amps and connections for corrosion. When starting your car in the morning, turn on electricity first and wait 30 seconds for the battery to warm up before starting.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid freezing gas lines.
  • Thinner grades of oil are better for colder weather; opt for 5W-30 over 10W-30.
  • Check tire pressure every one to two weeks as low temperatures can reduce tire pressure and will limit control on slick roads.
  • Never use wiper blades to clear ice or frost as this damages the blades. Use a scraper or can de-icer. 
  • Never warm up your car in a closed garage; carbon monoxide poisoning is possible. In some counties it is illegal to warm up a car parked on public streets when the driver is not in the car.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car. Make sure it includes a mobile phone, car charger, blankets, flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, drinking water, a small shovel, a sack of sand or cat litter for traction, windshield scraper, battery booster cables, emergency reflectors and non-perishable snacks.

AAA Carolinas is prepared for an increase in emergency road service calls, with an expected 25% increase in battery-related calls.

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