Motorists urged to use extreme caution

Published 11:07 am Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The tropical depression off the coast of North Carolina is expected to bring significant rainfall to much of the state, which could result in flash flooding along roadways over the next few days.

The N.C. Department of Transportation reminds motorists to avoid driving through flooded areas, even if they seem shallow. Just one foot of water can float many vehicles, while two feet of rushing water can carry away even SUVs and pick-ups; and flooding could hide the fact that a road has been washed away, creating even more hazardous conditions.

To help keep you and your loved ones safe when driving in bad weather, follow this advice:

If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas, apply the brakes in a steady, slightly firm manner without stomping and steer in the direction of the skid. If you have a manual transmission, push in the clutch and let the car slow down on its own;

If the rain is extremely heavy, pull over in a safe area in a parking lot or on the roadside with your emergency flashers on, away from any trees or other tall objects, and wait for the weather to improve;

After driving through a puddle, tap your brake pedal to help dry your brake rotors;

Allow more travel time;

Turn on your low beam headlights and use the defroster to increase visibility;

If possible, stay in the middle lane where the road tends to be higher;

Reduce your speed by at least five to 10 miles per hour and allow at least twice the normal following distance;

Signal for turns ahead of time and brake early as you near a stop. Remember, roads are slickest in the first 10 to 15 minutes, especially if it has not rained for a while; and

If a traffic signal is knocked out by a storm, regard the intersection as a four-way stop. If two or more vehicles arrive at the same time, the car to the right has the right of way and after signaling, may move in any direction. If two facing vehicles approach the intersection at the same time, any car traveling straight ahead or turning right has the right of way.