From Sheriff David A. Mahoney                           

            Phone - 884-3168

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Winter Weather Driving Safety

Fortunately, the small amount of ice, freezing rain and snow we saw here in Transylvania County last week caused very few driving problems.  However, with much of the winter still facing us, we may not be as fortunate.  Whenever winter weather hits, the number of traffic accidents increase significantly.   Winter driving can be hazardous and scary, especially when conditions change rapidly.  Being prepared for winter weather can help make a trip safer, or help motorists deal with an emergency.  The following information is from OSHA.  The three P’s of safe winter driving:  Prepare for the trip; protect yourself; and prevent crashes on the road. 


ü  Maintain Your Car: Check battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers, keep your windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze.

ü  Have On Hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.

ü  Stopped or Stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and run it just enough to stay warm.

ü  Plan Your route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if  necessary), be familiar with the maps/ directions, and let others know your route and arrival time.


ü  Buckle up and use child safety seats properly.

ü  Never place a rear-facing infant seat in front of an air bag.

ü  Children 12 and under are much safer in the back seat.

Prevent Crashes

ü  Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

ü  Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.

ü  Increase following distance.  The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.

ü  Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

ü  Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.