With winter officially here, drivers in North Carolina are sure to find themselves on icy and snow-covered roads. In this case, proper driving is crucial, both to prevent serious injury as well as to avoid costly damage and repairs. The following tips can help you maintain safety all throughout the winter months, which will benefit both you and other motorists.

Pack an emergency kit

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends packing an emergency care kit to combat harsh winter weather. Kits should include tools, such as jumper cables, flares, and a flashlight. You should also keep ice scrapers and shovels on hand, as well as having salt or kitty litter accessible to increase traction. In the event you’re stranded, make sure you have an extra set of warm clothes, blankets, hats, and gloves. You can also pack non-perishable snacks and drinking water.

Plan long trips carefully

AAA suggests having your vehicle inspected before taking any long trips. You should also check out the weather forecast before setting out. In the event of a serious storm, consider delaying your trip for a few hours. It’s also a good idea to plan out some alternate routes in case traffic is bad or roads aren’t drivable.

Know how to drive in the snow

When driving on slick roads, be sure to maintain a reasonable speed. This is especially important when pressing on the gas, as speedy acceleration can lead to skidding, which can result in an accident. When following behind other vehicles, try to keep at least eight to ten seconds between you. This will allow you enough time to stop in case the car in front of you slams on its brakes.