Driving Through The Storm

If you don't have to go out, don't!

We hear that often during times of severe weather, especially during winter storms. But what if you DO have to hit the road?

Several common sense tips can help your travel on treacherous roadways.

1. Before you head out, make sure your car is properly maintained. For example, check the windshield wipers and fluid and the tire pressure. Prepare an emergency kit for your car. A cell phone is important, but so are other items. What if your vehicle skidded off the road, you could not get a signal and had to wait for hours to be found... what would you need?

2. Remember, you can't stop fast on an icy or snow-covered road. A common complaint from drivers during last week's storm in Eastern Carolina was that drivers behind them were following too closely for conditions. That practice results in plenty of fender benders.

3. Allow extra time, slow down, stay back from other vehicles, turn on your hazard lights and approach intersections cautiously.

4. So what happens if your vehicle starts to slide? The experts say don't panic! Take your foot off the gas and do not hit the brakes. Authorities say steer the front of your vehicle into the skid (the same direction you are sliding). This technique is used in both front- and rear-wheel-drive vehicles. If you must use the brakes, do not allow them to lock up; gently pump the brake pedal, unless your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes. If your car has anti-lock brakes, use a firm, steady pressure WITHOUT pumping.

And perhaps the best piece of advice when roads are treacherous? You guessed it... if you don't have to go out, don't!