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      Public Safety advises drivers monitor road conditions Tuesday

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (SCDPS) - The S.C. Department of Public Safety, in conjunctionwith other state and local agencies, is preparing for winter weather and urgingmotorists to stay off the roadways as much as possible during inclementweather. {}

      Early weather predictions are for the heaviest impact to be in theMidlands and the coastal areas with the possibility of freezing precipitationand snow, which could present dangerous black ice conditions.

      During winter weather emergencies, SCDPS will work in conjunctionwith State Emergency Management Division (EMD) and other state agenciesincluding the SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT), State Law EnforcementDivision (SLED), Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and others, sharingresources such as four-wheel drive vehicles and personnel.

      "We are actively planning to pre-position DPS law enforcementofficers and equipment in those areas of the state that may be adverselyaffected by hazardous weather and have begun disseminating safety informationto motorists,"{}said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. {}

      Highway Patrol Col. Mike Oliver is urging motorists to refrainfrom driving, when at all possible.

      "Some of the most troublesome issues the Highway Patrol seesduring inclement weather include: minor collisions involving people losingcontrol of the vehicle, {}black ice,{} bridges or overpasses icingbefore the roadways; {}motorists travelling too fast for conditions and notleaving enough space between them and other vehicles," Oliver said.

      Col. Oliver and State Transport Police Col. Leroy Taylor say thattroopers and officers are prepared for the storm and will be closely monitoringroad conditions as they go about their normal duties. {}{}

      DPS says that being on the roadways - especially with the elderlyand children - can be very dangerous and that anyone who must travel needs tobe prepared with blankets, water, snacks and flashlights should they becomestranded.

      Col. Taylor said that the rules for driving aroundcommercial motor vehicles during non-hazardous weather conditions are even morecritical when there is a chance of snow and ice on the roads.

      "Leave More Space," Taylor said. "Ensure you aregiving large trucks plenty of room to navigate and be aware that they need amuch greater stopping distance," he said. Taylor also cautioned motorists to beaware of large trucks' blind spots.

      During hazardous weather, SCDPS urges motorists totry to limit use of *HP to true emergencies such as reporting collisions orbeing stranded in a vehicle.

      SCDPS winter weather driving tips: http://www.scdps.gov/WinterWeatherDrivingTips2.pdf

      How do I get traffic information including road conditions?

      The SC Department of Public Safety strongly encourages you to getthis information through your local media outlets, which will be sendingregular updates on road conditions and other information gleaned from stateagencies. For real-time traffic information, consult the Highway Patrol's website at http://www.scdps.gov/schp/.For winter road conditions or traffic cameras, consult the South CarolinaDepartment of Transportation's web site at www.dot.state.sc.us.

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      What do I do if my car breaks down?

      Try to stop well off the roadway. Turn on emergency flashers. Stayinside your vehicle if in a hazardous area (road condition). Call *HP for helpor your local law enforcement.

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      What do I do if I have a minor wreck?

      Move vehicles off the roadway if there are no injuries and calllocal law enforcement agency. In times of inclement weather where the HighwayPatrol is experiencing a high volume of calls for service, the response timemight be longer.

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      What do I do if my vehicle begins skidding?

      Take your foot off theaccelerator. Counter steer: If the rear of your vehicle issliding 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. Ifyou have standard brakes, pump them gently. If you have anti-lockbrakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. Youwill feel the brakes pulse -- this is normal.

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      I have to drive to work. What do I need to look out for on theroadways?

      Be aware that bridges and overpasses ice before the roadway. Watchfor clues of hazardous road conditions ahead; shiny spots, vehicles havetrouble staying in control, vehicles off the roadway or emergency vehicles.

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      What do I need to carry with me if I am travelling in bad weather?

      Ensure your cell phone is charged. Let someone know where you aregoing, what your travel route is and when you expect to arrive. Carry flares, blankets,small tools and a shovel. Bring water and snacks.

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      How do I get my vehicle ready for winter driving?

      Ensure your vehicle is in good working condition before badweather strikes. Check your vehicle's tires, brakes, fluids, wiper blades,lights, belts and hoses to make sure they're in good condition. Beforeleaving, make sure you've cleared the snow off your vehicle's windows andlights, including brake lights and turn signals. Make sure you can see and beseen.{}

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