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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -
With the arrival of winter and the possibility that motorists may have to drive in inclement weather, the Highway Patrol is offering simple and safe driving tips.
The weather in North Carolina is unpredictable and this time of year you never know when to expect black ice, snow, icy roads or a mixture of road conditions.
The Highway Patrol is asking motorists to prepare in advance for the winter driving months ahead.
"Winter brings new obstacles and responsibilities that the motoring public will experience when inclement weather moves into our state. Despite a rather mild winter so far, North Carolina's weather can often change from one day to the next," says Patrol spokesman, First Sergeant Jeff Gordon.
Here are a few simple steps to help keep you on the road and less anxious:
Avoid travel unless necessary when winter weather is in your area.
Wear your seatbelt.
Leave early – allow more travel time; expect delays.
Increase distance between vehicles – it takes significantly longer to stop on snow covered or icy roadways.
Clear all windows on your vehicle prior to travel – having unobstructed vision is vital to avoid running off of the road or having a collision.
Illuminate your vehicles headlamps.
Use caution on bridges and overpasses as they susceptible to freezing before roadways.
Avoid using cruise control – cruise can cause the vehicle's wheels to continue turning on a slippery surface when speed needs to be decreased.
Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas in the event you are stranded for an extended period of time.
Charge your cellular phone prior to departure.
Take a blanket.
Notify a family member or a friend of your travel plans prior to departure – if you travel is interrupted, someone will know.
Be patient – weather also limits our capabilities and increases our response time; also, keep in mind that we will be experiencing a high volume of requests for service.
Attempt to move your vehicle out of the roadway if you are involved in a minor, non-injury traffic collision; especially if you are in a dangerous area such as a curve or a blind hill.
If your vehicle is stranded or wrecked but not in the roadway, attempts to recover your vehicle will have to wait until conditions improve for safety considerations.
To check the status of road conditions, motorists are asked to go to the Department of Transportation's website at http://www.ncdot.gov/travel/. The public is not advised to dial 911 or the Highway Patrol Communication Centers for road conditions.
However, citizens can contribute to highway safety by reporting erratic drivers to the Highway Patrol by dialing *Hp or *47 on their cellular phones. Callers will remain anonymous and should give a description of the vehicle, location, direction of travel and license number if possible.