1,000 Drivers Stranded in Carolinas Tuesday - WSPA.com

1,000 Drivers Stranded in Carolinas Tuesday

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About 1,000 drivers in the Carolinas were stranded on the side of the road in the bitter cold Tuesday. About 1,000 drivers in the Carolinas were stranded on the side of the road in the bitter cold Tuesday.

About 1,000 drivers in the Carolinas were stranded on the side of the road in the bitter cold Tuesday.

The Highway Patrol helped more than 600 stranded drivers in South Carolina and nearly 400 in North Carolina within 24 hours.

Troopers responded to 127 calls for service in the Upstate Tuesday morning between midnight and 9:30 a.m. That's compared to just 17 calls that same period on Monday and six calls Sunday.

“When somebody's broken down and it's 9 degrees outside and their vehicle very well may not even crank, they have no heat, that's the most important thing at that point in time. We need to get them off the roadway," said S.C. Highway Patrol Corporal Bill Rhyne.

Certified Automotive owner and technician Chuck Lattin said there are three things you need to check now before getting behind the wheel in the cold.

Lattin said the number one thing you want to check is your battery. Look for white, blue or green gunk around the battery cable connections, which indicates the battery is leaking. That'll eventually cause connection issues and your car won't start.

If you're nervous about checking your battery on your own, you can go to an auto parts store. Lattin said those stores usually check it for free.

Second, Lattin said to make sure you check out your tire pressure. You can usually find what level your tires are supposed to be at inside the driver's side door or in the owner's manual. This cold weather causes air in your tires to contract so there's less pressure and that means a low tire will go flat very quickly.

Third, check your antifreeze. You can use an antifreeze tester to withdraw a portion of the antifreeze, then read the needle. If you don't have enough antifreeze, your radiator can freeze and you'll break down. You should typically have about 50-50 antifreeze and water. Lattin warns you should not only put water in that tank.

“That would be a major mistake. Again, even if it was just a warm climate, we would have a lot of rust, but down here it'll freeze up,” said Lattin.

Keeping your owner's manual in your glove box will help you identify any warning lights that come up.

If you think something is wrong, play it safe and get it checked out by a professional.

Make sure you charge up your cell phone. Not only can you use it to dial *47 for Highway Patrol, many smartphones also come equipped with a flashlight, which is handy if you get stranded in the dark.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety suggests, if you do get stranded, move your vehicle to the right side of the road, out of the flow of traffic, if possible. Do not leave the vehicle stopped in a traffic lane. Turn on your emergency flashers. Show signs there is a problem and you need assistance by raising the vehicle hood. Another driver will likely report your disabled vehicle.

Dangerously Cold Temperatures Blanket Carolinas
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