For updated road conditions, motorists should call 5-1-1 or visit http://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/. Travelers are asked NOT to call 9-1-1 or the State Highway Patrol.
If travel is absolutely necessary, motorists should use the following precautions:
- Clear windows and mirror
- Reduce speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles
- Bridges and overpasses accumulate ice first. Approach them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on the bridge
- If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car
- If you have a cellular phone, take it with you; you can contact the Highway Patrol statewide by calling HP (*47) or call the county emergency center by dialing 9-1-1
- Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection where traffic lights are out. Treat this scenario as a four-way stop.
If you become trapped in your car:
- Pull off the highway; stay calm and remain in your vehicle. At night, turn on the inside dome light, so work and rescue crews can see you.
- Set your directional lights to "flashing" and hang a cloth or distress flag from the radio aerial or window. In a rural or wilderness area, spread a large cloth over the snow to attract attention of rescue crews who may be surveying the area by airplane.
- Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter.
- If you run the engine to keep warm, open a window slightly for ventilation. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clear away snow from the exhaust pipe.
- Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat as a blanket.
- Never let everyone in the car sleep at once. One person should stay awake to look out for rescue crews.
- Be careful not to use battery power. Balance electrical energy needs-the use of lights, heat and radio-with your supply.
For the latest information on road conditions, call 5-1-1 or access the Traveler Information Management System (TIMS).
The N.C. Division of Emergency Management recommends the following tips to prepare for winter weather:
- Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.
- Do not use charcoal grills or generators indoors.
- Turn off electrical appliances that were on when the power went off to avoid a power surge when the electricity is restored.
- Use flashlights. Do not use candles; they greatly increase the chance of having a fire in your home.
- Limit your activities to no more than two rooms and close off unneeded rooms.
- Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and cover windows at night to keep cold air out and warm air in.
- If you have well water, fill up tubs and buckets with water so if the power goes out you still have water.