ORANGE COUNTY – As the winter storm moves across Orange County, AAA of the Carolinas has some safety tips to help keep you safe if you have to travel over the next several days.

Angela Vogel Daley of AAA says first and foremost to avoid unnecessary travel if possible during dangerous weather events.

“Staying off the road is the best advice, but if you do have to drive, we recommend certainly slowing down. We know that on icy or snowy roads it can take up to seven times longer to stop,” Daley says.

It is important to keep your speed appropriate with the road conditions.  Severe winter weather, including snow, ice, sleet and freezing rain, is expected throughout much of our area through Thursday.

“And also remember it is not just braking, but everything takes longer. If you are accelerating, do it slowly. Don’t press the gas in too far, you may end up skidding and spinning your wheels. It is the same with turning. When you are approaching a turn, leave enough time to brake slowly and make that turn.”

If you must drive, Daley says to stay on major routes and stick to thoroughfares that have been plowed or treated and stay in the most recently cleared lane.

It is also a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Items to include are an ice scraper, kitty litter or sand for traction, jumper cables, food, water and any needed medications.

“Be sure when you leave the house, first of all make sure you have a winter coat, hat, gloves, and boots in case you do become stranded. Along with that, also have a fully charged cell phone and a car charger with you just in case.”

If you become snow-bound,  Daley recommends staying with your vehicle. It can provide temporary shelter and could make it easier for rescuers to locate you.

It is also advised to have your home prepared in case of loss of power or impassable roads. Daley recommends having several flashlights with batteries and a battery-powered radio good-to-go.