North Carolina doesn’t get hit by winter weather the way that New England does. Although the likelihood of massive snowdrifts and blizzard conditions are low in North Carolina compared to states further north, that doesn’t mean that winter driving in North Carolina is just like summer driving.
There are still plenty of risks that come with colder winter temperatures in North Carolina. The mild winter conditions many people experience also mean that drivers have less preparation for or experience with winter weather conditions on the roads.
What are three ways that winter weather might affect your safety on the North Carolina Streets?
The roads could be snowy, icy or slick
When there is winter weather, it can make roads very unsafe. Even the thinnest layer of ice or sleet on the road could lead to drivers losing control of their vehicles. Accumulated snow can also be dangerous because drivers can lose control when going over it or could get stuck in it if they go off the road.
Slippery road conditions require that drivers travel at slower speeds, a practice that many people don’t properly follow. Adjusting your speed and schedule for road conditions could increase your chances of arriving safely at your destination.
The weather will affect how your vehicle performs
There are numerous ways that winter weather could affect the performance of your vehicle. For example, ambient temperature can affect the performance of the batteries in standard vehicles, as well as hybrid and electric vehicles.
Colder temperatures can reduce the air pressure in your tires, reducing your traction at a time when the roads are already less safe. Colder outside temperatures and a chilly vehicle might mean that you have a hard time seeing out of your windshield due to precipitation or fogginess.
Drivers who don’t prepare their vehicles for winter weather and start their cars before driving in colder temperatures may put themselves at greater risk of losing control or getting distracted by vehicle issues as they drive.
Lower lights is an issue even when temperatures haven’t dropped
Sometimes, it takes longer than usual for winter temperatures to arrive. Regardless of how warm or cool it may be outside, light conditions will change as winter arrives.
It is more likely to be dark during your daily commute. There are simply more hours of darkness every day during the winter months, and dark outside conditions have a strong correlation with increased crash risk. There’s also the potential for glare, as puddles and snow can reflect sunshine into the eyes of drivers, many of whom don’t put on sunglasses during the colder months.