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Winter Driving Safety Tips

Over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are hurt in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement annually.

GREENSBORO, N.C. - The City of Greensboro is preparing for a wintry mix. 

Forecasters are predicting the possibility of freezing rain, snow, or ice over the weekend. 

On Friday, crews plan to spray brine on the city's streets to help keep drivers safe. 

Over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are hurt in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement annually.

That's according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.

State and local law enforcement agencies are encouraging people to stay off the roads, if possible. 

If you must travel, make sure your car is prepared for winter weather. 

Before driving in winter weather conditions, the National Highway Traffic Administration says, you should go over your vehicle safety checklist. 

That includes checking the car's battery, lights, cooling system, windshield wipers, and tires. 

You should also pack an emergency kit and place it in your vehicle. 

It should include a snow shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, blankets, cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine.

Before hitting the road, it's also a good idea to check the weather, road conditions, and traffic.

You don't want to be in a rush, especially on wet or icy pavement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following winter driving safety tips:

Avoid risky driving behaviors:

  • Do not text or engage in any activities that may distract you while driving.
  • Obey all posted speed limits, but drive even slower if necessary for weather conditions.
  • Drive sober. Alcohol and drugs impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory – the skills critical for safe and responsible driving.

How to drive in winter conditions:

  • Drive slowly. It's harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you'll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you.
  • Know whether your vehicle has an antilock brake system and learn how to use it properly. Antilock brake systems prevent your wheels from locking up during braking. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure to the brake pedal. If you don't have antilock brakes, you may need to pump your brakes if you feel your wheels starting to lock up.

How to navigate around snow plows:

  • Don't crowd a snow plow or travel beside it. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently.
  • The road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it or use caution when passing.
  • When you are driving behind a snow plow, don't follow or stop too closely. A snow plow operator's field-of-vision is limited; if you can't see the mirrors, the driver can't see you. Also, materials used to de-ice the road could hit your vehicle.
  • Snow plows can throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Never drive into a snow cloud – it can conceal vehicles or hazards.

What to do in a winter emergency:

  • Stay with your car and don't overexert yourself.
  • Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on.
  • To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don't run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm.