HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Roads are always one of the biggest concerns when cold temperatures move in, so SCDOT is already starting to prepare to make them as safe as possible.
SCDOT workers spent half a day Thursday out at the office off Highway 701 past Conway getting everything ready to go out at 7 a.m. Friday to treat the roads. Salt was dumped into trucks and salt brine tanks were loaded onto other trucks.
The salt brine is going to be the first treatment to hit roads Friday morning.
SCDOT crews are split in half and will work 12 hour shifts starting at 7 a.m. Friday morning lasting through the weekend.
Friday morning, they'll take the salt brine trucks out to start pre-treating bridges and other types of roads that could freeze more easily.
"The salt brine leaves a residue when it dries, but then when the snow starts hitting, it kind of reactivates it to help keep it from freezing," said Shannon Welch, SCDOT resident maintenance engineer.
Salt brine is a cost effective pre-treatment tool, so that's why it's being put down now, Welch said, despite the possibility of it being washed away by rain before snow comes.
While the salt brine goes down Friday, the actual salt won't go onto the roads until any snow actually starts to accumulate, he said.
C & G Auto Service Manager Barry Abrams said people should be preparing their own cars as well for winter weather.
Low temperatures can cause batteries to die, he said.
He also said air levels in tires and tire tread should be checked.
He said anti-freeze and coolant levels need to be looked at as well because drivers in areas where it doesn't get cold too often may have coolant that's nearly five years old and it will freeze faster when temperatures dip into the teens, which can be detrimental to cars.
"The engine freezes, the radiator freezes, when that happens, ice expands, it gets larger, it'll bust your radiator," he said. "It can actually pull the hoses away from the fittings just like they do in your house when your house freezes."
Abrams said a major problem he saw a lot of after the last two ice storms involved power window motors. People don't let their windows defrost enough and they try rolling the window down when it's frozen into the weather stripping, which damages the motor.
He also recommends people don't turn their cars on to warm them up and leave them unattended.
He said if the coolant fans aren't operating properly, it can cause the car to overheat.
Plus, it's illegal to leave a running car with a key in the ignition unattended.