Brining operations started today across northwestern North Carolina as N.C. Department of Transportation crews prepare roads for the possibility of heavy snow and ice accumulation in the coming days. NCDOT crews will pre-treat most bare pavement routes with salt brine in Division 11, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties. Bare pavement routes are interstates, four-lane divided primary routes, and other primary and secondary routes.

The division's mountain counties (Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga) will be putting out brine in locations that don't have residual salt from recent snow removal operations.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook and a winter storm watch for parts of Division 11, with some of the region expecting several inches of snow. NCDOT crews are prepared to switch from anti-icing operations to snow and ice removal when needed. Equipment and supplies are ready and stocked.

NCDOT offers the following safety tips for driving in winter weather:

Clear windows and mirrors;
Reduce speed and leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles;
Approach bridges and overpasses them with extreme caution and do not apply your brakes while on a bridge unless necessary;
If you begin to slide, take your foot off the gas and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide. Do not apply the brakes as that will cause further loss of control of the car;
Come to a complete stop or yield the right of way when approaching an intersection in case any vehicles coming from other directions lose control of their vehicles while trying to stop.
If you have a cellular phone, take it with you. You can contact the Highway Patrol statewide by calling *HP (*47) or call law enforcement by dialing 911. But please don