AAA offers tips on driving in bad weather

Published 10:46 am Thursday, January 5, 2017

Severe winter weather–including snow, ice, and freezing rain–is expected throughout the Carolinas starting Friday night and continuing throughout the weekend.

AAA Carolinas offers the following tips for driving in winter weather and preparing your home for potentially icy conditions:


  • Avoid unnecessary travel – No one can drive well on ice. Listen to authorities’ recommendations and delay travel until road conditions improve.
  • Accelerate, decelerate and turn slowly – Everything takes longer in icy conditions, so be sure to leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you – a following distance of 8-10 seconds.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it – There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling.
  • Don’t power up hills – Applying extra gas on icy roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. Avoid stopping while going up a hill.
  • Don’t use cruise control – You may need to quickly reduce your speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be easily accomplished on slick roads when cruise control is engaged.
  • To get out of a skid – Lightly take your foot off the brake or gas and try to regain traction. Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle – Include an ice scraper, kitty litter or sand for traction, jumper cables, cell phone with a car charger, blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medications. Be sure to bundle up with a winter coat, boots, gloves and a hat in case you get stranded.
  • If you become snow-bound – Stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you.
  • Stay on major routes – If you must drive, stick to thoroughfares that have been plowed or treated and stay in the most recently cleared lane.
  • Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses – They freeze because they are exposed to air on all of their surfaces.
  • Fill up on windshield washer fluid – Salt brine and sand from treated roadways will build up on your windshield, so be sure to have enough washer fluid to keep it clear. Opt for windshield washer fluid with a low freezing point to help keep ice and snow from sticking to your windshield.
  • Avoid distractions – Power off or store your cell phone, turn down the music and focus on driving.
  • Stock up on essentials and emergency items – In case of loss of power or impassable roads, be sure to have several flashlights with batteries, a battery-powered radio and a car charger for your cell phone.
  • Trim tree branches in your yard – Before the storm approaches, trim tree limbs that hang over power lines.
  • If loss of power occurs – Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer as much as possible to keep the temperature lower for a longer period of time. Unplug all appliances and leave only one light on to prevent a power surge.
  • Prevent pipes from freezing and bursting – Keep your home heated to a minimum of 65 degrees, open faucets enough to let them drip slowly and disconnect hoses from outside spigots. If pipes freeze, thaw them immediately or contact a plumber for assistance. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover damage resulting from a freeze, but check your policy to make sure.
During winter weather conditions, AAA’s emergency road service may be slower than usual or limited to circumstances where someone is in imminent danger. Drivers are advised to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.

AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

Connect with AAA Carolinas on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @AAAcarolinas.