With winter weather impacting our area Tuesday and Wednesday, WPDE NewsChannel 15 is committed to making sure you have all the information you need to stay safe during the storm. Below is information about power outages, winterizing your home and tips on driving in snowy or icy conditions.
Slow down for wet, snowy, or icy conditions. You will be more likely to maintain control of your 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 your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
Braking- Use your Brakes carefully. Brake early, brake slowly, brake correctly, and never slam on the brakes. Braking gently will help you avoid skidding. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), press the pedal down firmly and hold it. If you don't have anti-lock brakes, gently pump the pedal to avoid wheel lock-up.
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, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges. Be aware that road conditions are always changing.
Cruise Control- Avoid using cruise control in winter driving conditions. You need to be in control of your speed based on road conditions - don't let the cruise control make a bad decision for you.
If your vehicle starts to skid:
â?¢ Take your foot off the accelerator.
â?¢ Counter steer; 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.
â?¢ If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
â?¢ 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:
â?¢ Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
â?¢ Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
â?¢ Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
â?¢ Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
â?¢ Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
â?¢ 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.
Before leaving home, find out about the driving conditions. Monitor your local news stations or visit state agency websites such as SCDPS.org, SCDOT.org and SCEMD.org.
Safe Travel Around Snow Plows
Don't crowd the plow. Snowplows plow far and wide-sometimes very wide. The front plow extends several feet in front of the truck and may cross the centerline and shoulders during plowing operations. Plows also turn and exit the road frequently.
Don't tailgate or stop too close behind snowplows. Snowplows are usually spreading deicing materials from the back of the truck and those materials can damage vehicle paint. Plows also may need to stop or take evasive action to avoid stranded vehicles. If you find yourself behind a snowplow, stay behind it or use caution when passing. The road behind a snowplow will be safer to drive on.
Snowplows travel much slower than the posted speeds while removing snow and ice from the roads. When you spot a plow, allow plenty of time to slow down.
A snowplow operator's field of vision is restricted. You may see them but they may not see you.
*Dial *HP (*47) to report serious hazardous roadway conditions.
*Visit SCDOTâ??s website and click on â??Winter Road Conditionsâ?? to learn about road conditions in your area before you head out.
If you area experiencing any power outages, here is how you can get information for your power company.
Santee Cooper customers
To get information on power outages or to report an outage, click here. ã??
Horry Electric customers
Marlboro Electric customers
Duke Energy customers
Duke Energy customers can get information on power outages and how to report an outage here.
Progress Energy customers:
To report an outage or get updates, click here.
Pee Dee Electric customers:
To report an outage, call 1-800-693-0190 or click here.
HOMES AND PLANTS
During this time temperatures are forecast to be below freezing for several hours. This could potentially have impacts on sensitive vegetation, field crops, as well as plants or bushes. Take necessary precautions to protect them.
Also make sure you bring your pets inside or give them a warm place to stay to get out of the cold. They get cold just like you and I. Make sure to check on their water that it has not frozen over.
The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) offers these tips for winter weather preparation:
Prevent Frozen Pipes by Foam, Dome or Drip. For as little as $1 per 6' of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing and save energy, money and frustration. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands and can exert pressure of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch - enough to rupture almost any pipe filled with water. When a pipe bursts, it can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, resulting in the second most common cause of home insurance claims in America.
Check for air leaks around windows and doors using a lit incense stick. If the smoke is sucked out of an opening, seal the leak with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping. Don't forget about holes in the attic, basement and crawlspaces. The easiest place to insulate that will generate the biggest results is your attic. The US Environmental Protection Agency suggests at least 12 to 15 inches of insulation on the floor of your attic.
Check your portable heaters and fireplaces. Half of all fire-related deaths are caused by items placed too closely to heat sources. Make sure that your heater is tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter's Laboratories. Keep portable heaters at least three feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials. Place the heater on a level surface away from areas it can be bumped or knocked over. Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials. Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment. Make sure all vent pipes extend at least three feet above the roof.
Make your car winter safe. Create a car emergency kit with flashlights, a distress flag, blankets, extra food and water. Keep it there throughout the season.
Prevent Ice Dams. Ice dams are formed when air in the attic is warm enough to cause snow and ice on the roof to thaw and refreeze repeatedly. Pools of water then become trapped under layers of ice that seep under your roof covering (tiles or shingles) into the attic. Keep the warm air downstairs where it belongs with sufficient insulation on the floor of the attic. Consider using a dehumidifier to control water vapor. Seal all openings that would allow vapor to rise into the attic; including holes created from installing light fixtures, ceiling fans or disco balls. Provide attic ventilation to replace warm air in the attic with cold outside air. Consult a professional for the best way to avoid ice dams and water damage in your home. Keep gutters and downspouts clear to allow melted snow and ice to flow away from your home.