SC Highway Patrol issues winter road advisory

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Due to winter weather conditions the South Carolina Highway Patrol will be constantly monitoring roadways for icing and have additional resources in place. Please use caution on bridges, overpasses and shaded areas for icing (black ice).

Listed below are some helpful winter weather driving tips from the SCHP:

Speed- Slow down for wet, snowy, or icy conditions. It will be more likely to maintain control of the vehicle at lower speeds. Slow down when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges or shady spots. These are all candidates for developing black ice — a thin coating of clear ice that can form on the pavement surface that may be difficult to see.

Following distance- Decrease the speed and leave plenty of room to stop. Leave three times the normal amount of distance between the cars.

Braking- Use the brakes carefully. Brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly, and never slam on the brakes. Braking gently will help you avoid skidding. If the car has anti-lock brakes (ABS), press the pedal down firmly and hold it. If it doesn't have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal to avoid wheel lock-up.

Abrupt Maneuvers- Avoid excessive actions while steering, braking or accelerating to lessen the chances of losing control of the vehicle. When driving on snow, ice or wet roads, avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.

Vehicles- Don't assume any vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads. If your vehicle is equipped with Electronic-Stability Control (ESC) make sure it's turned on. ESC will assist in maintaining control of the vehicle if it loses traction. Keep the lights and windshield clean and turn on the lights to increase visibility to other motorists.

Road conditions- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, shady areas or exposed roadways like bridges may contain ice. Be aware that road conditions are always changing.

Stay Alert- When driving in adverse road conditions, look farther ahead in traffic than normally. Actions by other vehicles will alert one to problems more quickly, and give that split-second of extra time to react safely.

Cruise Control- Avoid using cruise control in winter driving conditions. Be in control of the speed based on road conditions.

If your vehicle starts to skid you should:

• Take your foot off the accelerator.

• Counter steer and if the rear of your vehicle is sliding left, steer left into the skid. If it's sliding right, steer right. Steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.

• If you have standard brakes, then pump them gently.

• If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse -- this is normal.

If you get stuck:

• Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.

• Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.

• Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.

• Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.

• Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.

• Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first -- it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.

Be Prepared

Before heading out, make sure to clear the snow off the vehicle's lights, windows, turn signals and brake lights. 

When traveling in wintry conditions make sure to give yourself extra time to reach your destination safely.

Winter conditions can be taxing on your vehicle. Check your vehicle's tires, brakes, fluids, wiper blades, lights, belts, and hoses to make sure they're in good condition before the start of the winter season. Dress appropriately and carry a blanket in the trunk in case you are stranded. A breakdown is bad on a good day, and can be dangerous on a bad-weather day.-SCHP press release.

The SC Highway Patrol wants you to be prepared, so before leaving home find about current driving conditions. Also keep watching your local news stations or state agency websites such as, and for updates.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved. Information was provided by SCHP press release.