Road Tips

Motorists involved in a minor, non-injury accident on a four-lane highway may move their vehicles to the shoulder of the road if the total damage is less than $1,000 and no one is injured.

Approaching cars
If an approaching car crosses the center line into your path, reduce your speed immediately, sound your horn and keep to the right even if this means running off the road.

When a tire blows, there is a loud noise and the car begins to swerve. If that should happen, do the following:

  • Hold the steering wheel tightly and try to keep the car straight on your side of the road.
  • Take your foot off the gas to reduce speed.
  • Do not apply the brakes until the engine has slowed the car to allow you to maintain control of the vehicle.
  • Find a safe place to move the vehicle completely off the road.

Break Downs

  • Exit the main part of the road or move the vehicle completely onto the shoulder of the road.
  • Leave the car by the passenger side and do not allow passengers to remain in the car.
  • Stand off the road and away from the car. Do not stand in front of or to the rear of the vehicle.
  • If you need help, tie a white cloth to the left door handle or the radio aerial and raise the hood of the car.
  • If it is dark, turn on the parking lights or emergency flashers. Always have flashlights or flares in your car for emergencies.
  • If the vehicle becomes disabled on the roadway, do not remain in the vehicle. Activate your car's hazard lights. Stand off of the roadway while waiting for assistance.


  • Don't drive through puddles or standing water. You can lose control of your car even in six inches of water.
  • Don't drive through flooded road sections. If you can't see the markings on the road, don't drive through the water. As little as a foot of water can sweep your car away.
  • If your brakes are wet, dry them by driving a short distance and applying light pressure to the brake pedal.


  • Turn on the low beam headlights.
  • Reduce your driving speed and be alert for taillights of the vehicle in front of you.
  • Watch for vehicles behind you.


  • Be alert to warning signs of standing water on the roadway such as visible reflections on the surface of the water, dimples created by rain drops as they hit the water, a slushing sound made by your tires and a loose feeling in your steering wheel.
  • If you begin to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas pedal. Resist your instinct to use the brakes.
  • Keep the steering wheel straight and let the cars momentum ease down until the tires grip the road again and you regain control.
  • If the vehicle skids, turn the wheel into the skid.

Move Over Law 
Move over to the farthest lane of travel when approaching any emergency vehicle with its lights flashing on a four-lane highway. Motorists should continue traveling in that lane at a reduced speed until safely clear of the emergency vehicle.


  • Do not immediately apply the brakes or try to turn back; you could skid, lose control and overturn.
  • Slowly remove your foot from the accelerator and steer straight ahead. · Allow the engine to slow the vehicle.
  • When the car is stopped or nearly stopped, check for approaching traffic, and if it?s safe, gradually drive back onto the road.

Other Important Road Tips ·

  • Secure objects in your car, even your pets. They can become missiles if you come to an abrupt stop. If a car is traveling at 60 miles per hour and comes to an abrupt stop, the objects inside will continue at that same speed until they strike something or someone, or until gravity slows them down. At that speed, even a box of tissue can hurt.
  • All North Carolina motorists are required to use headlights whenever they are using their windshield wipers in inclement weather.
  • Stop at red lights. Intersections are among the most dangerous driving situations. Most crashes happen five seconds after the light changes when red light runners broadside innocent drivers.
  • If you begin to feel a bumpy ride when there is not obvious reason, stop and check your tires. You may have a flat tire.
  •  Don't drive while drowsy. It's equivalent to driving drunk. As soon as you become drowsy, open the windows, turn on the radio and pull off the road. Take a nap even if it's just for 20 minutes. If you're on a long trip, stop for the night.
  • To prevent excessive wear on brakes when moving down a long hill or steep grade, use a lower gear instead of the brake pedal to control speed. It is best to shift to a lower gear at the top of the hill before you descend.
  • Don't become distracted while driving. This includes eating, reading talking on a cell phone, grooming, adjusting the radio, or talking.
  • Do not rubberneck when you come upon a traffic accident.
  • Use seat belts.
  • Don't put children, ages four to eight, in adult seat belts. Use booster seats.
  • Don't put two children in one adult seat belt. It can be deadly. 
  • Children under 12 should always sit in the back to protect themselves from airbags. A child is not ready for an adult seat until he is 4 feet 9 inches tall and weighs more than 80 pounds. ·
  • Adults should wear seatbelts and not depend on airbags alone. Seatbelts and airbags work together and without the seatbelt, an airbag could hit the driver or passenger in the chest with the impact of a baseball bat. 
  • Head restraints should be as high as the top of the ears and as close to the head as possible.


  • Avoid skidding in icy, rainy, or snowy conditions by gradually reducing speed.
  • Start to move into second or high gear and slowly release the clutch (manual transmission) or use second gear (automatic transmission).
  • Pump the brakes gently to slow the car down. It gives the tires more traction. 
  • If you're in a skid, slowly ease your foot off the accelerator. Turn the steering wheel in the direction the rear of the car is skidding. As soon as the vehicle's path begins to straighten, turn the steering wheel back the other way so you will not over-steer.

Twilight Walks

  • Wear light or white clothing.  Florescent colors appear dark in low light.
  • Choose shoes, safety vests, jackets with retro-reflective patches that shine in headlights.
  • Carry a flashlight and keep it on so motorists will see it.
  • Remove your sunglasses at dusk.

Watch for Drunk Drivers

  • Always watch for the other guy. Look out for drivers who straddle the center line, swerve in and out of traffic, drift into other lanes, make wide turns, drive too slow or too fast, follow too closely, run up on the curb, run red lights, or drive at night without headlights. 
  • If you spot a drunk driver, keep your distance and report the license plate number to the police or the Highway Patrol - *HP (*47) on any cellular phone.