RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Travelers can check real-time driving conditions before boarding their one-horse open sleighs (or motor vehicles) throughout the holiday weekend, as a winter storm is forecast to bring bone-chilling cold, rain, heavy winds, and possible snow and ice in some locations.

Those conditions could make travel dangerous in North Carolina from the mountains to the coast, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation.

If you do choose to travel this weekend, NCDOT recommends the following safety tips:

  • Be sure your vehicle is running well, has at least a half tank of gas, and is equipped properly for changing conditions.
  • Keep on hand a supply kit with an ice scraper, extra windshield wiper fluid and anti-freeze, as well as a first-aid kit, blankets, flashlights, drinking water, and a basic automotive tool kit with jumper cables and flares.
  • If possible, leave early for your destination.
  • Allow extra time for your trip, regardless of the route you choose.
  • Drive slowly and maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles.
  • Approach bridges and overpasses with caution as they may accumulate ice first.
  • Come to a complete stop and yield the right of way when approaching an intersection where traffic lights are out. Treat this as a four-way stop.
  • Other tips can be found on NCDOT’s “Driving in Winter Weather” webpage.
  • For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

NCDOT said it has prepared for the storm with more than 2,200 employees who are specially trained to use hundreds of trucks to remove snow and ice from roads.

NCDOT has prepared its trucks and equipment in advance of this weekend’s storm. The agency can store up to 179,000 tons of salt and sand and 1.8 million of brine to treat roads.

“Our staff is ready to clear roads of snow and debris as needed, but travelers need to be prepared, too,” said J. Eric Boyette, secretary of the NCDOT. “This storm could make it quite dangerous to be outside driving. Everyone should be prepared and be safe.”

Road Construction Halted

To ease travel, the NCDOT will temporarily halt most construction activity along major highways to keep traffic flowing for holiday travel.

Construction along interstates, U.S. and key N.C. routes will be suspended from Friday morning until Tuesday evening to help reduce delays.

Construction also will be halted starting the morning of Dec. 31 through the evening of Jan. 3 for motorists traveling during the New Year’s Day holiday. Some projects will continue with work that doesn’t impact travel lanes, and other long-term lane closures will remain in place on certain projects.

Weather Could Impact Other Transportation

High winds and rough seas along the coast could cause schedule interruptions on some or all North Carolina ferry routes. Travelers should check with their terminal of departure before heading out this weekend.

As of Thursday, there are no plans in the coming days to stop or delay any of the state’s passenger rail trains. For the latest train schedules, please visit NCByTrain.org.

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.