12/20/17 — Agencies urge winter driving caution

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Agencies urge winter driving caution

By From staff reports
Published in News on December 20, 2017 5:50 AM

Your driving habits should change with the weather, as each season presents new obstacles on the road.

Agencies are offering safe driving tips to help you prepare for the most wonderful time of the year.

AAA Carolina is reminding drivers to:

* Avoid driving while fatigued.

* Never warm up your vehicle in an enclosed area.

* Make sure your tires are properly inflated.

* Never mix radial tires with other types of tires.

* Keep your gas tank at least half-filled to avoid gas line freeze-up.

* Avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.

* Do not use cruise control on any slippery surface.

* Look and steer where you want to go, and wear your seat belt.

* Watch weather report prior to long-distance driving. Delay trips when bad weather is expected.

* Have your vehicle inspected, and make sure it is in peak operating condition.

* Pack a cellphone, plus blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any necessary medication.

* Stay with your vehicle if you become snowbound. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna, and run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill. Do not try to walk away from your car in a severe storm.

* Do not try to dig or push your vehicle out of the snow.

* Use whatever you can to insulate your body from the cold -- floor mats, newspapers or paper maps are good options.

* Accelerate and decelerate slowly. This allows for better traction and reaction time.

* Drive slowly.

* More than double your following distance from 3 to 4 feet to 8 to 10 feet.

* Don't stop if you can avoid it, don't power up hills and if you are already going up a hill, don't stop.

* Stay home. If you don't need to go out, then don't. Just watch the snow from home.

According to a press release from the N.C. Department of Transportation, 1,442 people were killed in crashes on North Carolina highways in 2016, and 354 of them were alcohol-related.

Law enforcement is conducting a statewide Booze It & Lose It campaign until Jan. 1, 2018, in an effort to combat drunken driving.

"We want to keep our roads safe and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober," said Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor's Highway Safety Program. "Alcohol affects people differently, and you do not have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive. One drink is too many to get behind the wheel."

During 2016's Booze It & Lose It campaign during this same time frame, there were 893 impaired driving-related crashes and 23 alcohol-related fatalities statewide.

If you are going out to drink, have a plan to get home.

Don't drink and drive, and arrange for someone who is sober to pick you up and take you home.

NCDOT also recommends not letting someone get behind the wheel if you know they are drunk. Call law enforcement if you see or know an impaired driver is on the road.