Weather the Storm Inside, Not Out on Roads NCDOT safe-driving tips for wet weather


Weather the storm inside.  

Motorists in some of the westernmost counties of North Carolina are experiencing dangerous driving conditions this evening with the remnants of Hurricane Irma dropping trees and dumping rain on the roads.

The smartest drivers are staying off the roads.

Dangerous conditions forced some N.C. Department of Transportation employees to suspend cleanup activities and seek shelter on Monday evening.

Transportation officials urge all drivers to take extreme safety precautions when driving in any wet weather, and especially in hazardous conditions.

Heavy rain and flash flooding can create hazardous driving conditions, thereby increasing the likelihood of a wreck. Take the following precautions to help stay safe:

  • Stay off the roads. If you must drive, be sure your tires and brakes are in good working condition.
  • Also avoid flooded areas. A foot of water, for example, can cause vehicles to float, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away vehicles, including SUVs and pick-up trucks.
  • Allow yourself more time to get where you're going. Drive at least 5 to 10 mph slower than the speed limit on wet pavement.
  • Stay alert and be ready for sudden stops. Allow at least twice the normal following distance between vehicles.
  • Signal for turns and brake earlier than usual as you near a turn or stop.
  • Be patient and do not pass lines of traffic.
  • Turn on your headlights, as required by North Carolina law, while using your windshield wipers – regardless of the time of day.
  • Turn on your low-beam headlights and use the defroster to increase visibility – regardless of whether it is day or night. High beams, or "brights," could reflect off fog and decrease visibility.
  • Avoid driving through pools of standing water – even if they seem shallow. Water could be covering road hazards, such as holes, fallen power lines or debris.
  • If your vehicle begins to hydroplane – when your tires glide across the surface of water on a road – take your foot off the gas and apply the brakes in a steady, slightly firm manner (don't stomp on them). Then steer in the direction of the skid.
  • For manual transmissions, push in the clutch and let the vehicle slow down on its own.
  • For automatic transmissions, hold the steering wheel steady and lightly apply the brakes.
  • For vehicles with antilock brakes, apply more steady pressure to the brakes, but avoid pumping them.

Or better yet, wait out the storm inside.

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