The SC Department of Public Safety is advising motorists to be aware of changing road conditions as winter weather is forecast for areas of the state this weekend. The SC Highway Patrol and State Transport Police will be increasing staffing resources during the weather event this weekend to help ensure motorists’ safety.
During winter weather emergencies, SCDPS will follow the lead of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) in activating its emergency plan and will work closely with other state agencies including the SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT), State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and others, sharing resources such as four-wheel drive vehicles and personnel.
“We have been monitoring the forecast throughout the week, increasing staffing, and taking every precaution to ensure we are ready for whatever comes our way,” said SCDPS Director Robert G. Woods, IV. “Even a small amount of snow or ice can cause hazardous conditions, so, our primary message is stay off the roads in affected areas and ensure you are prepared if travel is essential since conditions can change unexpectedly.”
South Carolina Highway Patrol Col. Christopher Williamson said troopers will be monitoring the roadways for hazardous road conditions, reporting incidents to SCDOT and working to clear collisions and stalled vehicles.
“Sometimes motorists can underestimate the extent of a storm and get caught out in cold weather. Being in a stranded vehicle with no heat can quickly become a dangerous situation,” Williamson said. “We are also warning motorists about the potential for black ice and to use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses, which typically ice over before the roadways.”
Some of the typical problems the Highway Patrol sees during inclement weather include: a high volume of minor collisions involving people losing control of the vehicle and possibly skidding into each other’s vehicles; people encountering black ice; slick conditions on bridges or overpasses; motorists traveling too fast for conditions and not leaving enough space between them and other vehicles.
Troopers are also reminding motorists of the dangers caused by ice on power lines and trees. Motorists should be aware of their surroundings at all times and be on the lookout for fallen limbs or power lines in the roadway.
Col. Dean Dill, commander of the State Transport Police, is reminding motorists that commercial motor vehicles will be on the roads delivering necessary goods and face different challenges.
“We are urging motorists to leave more space around large trucks and realize that it takes them a greater distance to stop,” Dill said. “This is especially critical during hazardous weather conditions.”
SCHP reminders motorists to only use *HP or 911 for true emergencies during inclement weather such as reporting collisions or being stranded in a vehicle. SCHP strongly urges motorists to pay attention to weather advisories on the radio, television, social media and the agencies’ web sites to determine road conditions. State agencies will be regularly issuing weather advisories and travel information.