Negative Wind Chills and Driving Safely into Next Week

Jan 12, 2024 at 07:24 am by Rutherford Weather

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TN - AAA is bracing for extremely cold temperatures and the possibility of high winds and inclement weather in parts of the state this weekend through early next week.

In the Rutherford County area, you can expect the temperature to plummet down to (negative) -6 degrees between Friday evening and Wednesday morning.


MORE ON TEMPERATURE: Expect rain throughout the day on Friday with a mild high of 58 degrees; followed by a significant plunge down to 23 degrees on Friday night. The Friday night windchill will be a bitterly cold 12 degrees. More cold temperatures as we enter Saturday, when the high will be 44 degrees. Come Saturday night, bundling up would be an understatement. The nighttime low will dip down to 20 degrees and the windchill will be at 18.

SUNDAY: The arctic blast will hit Rutherford County hard on Sunday with a high of 31. Anticipate Sunday nights temperatures to drop and settle at 15 degrees, with a windchill that feels as cold as 7 to 11 degrees. Additionally, there's a 40% chance of sprinkles that turn into snow showers on Sunday.

MONDAY into TUESDAY: As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches on Monday, the high is projected to reach only 28 degrees, according to the latest report from the NWA. The cold will be accompanied by a 20% chance of snowfall on MLK Day, this Monday. During the night hours the temperatures are forecasted to be exceptionally frigid with a low of 10. Heading into Tuesday, we'll see a high of 21 and a low down to 3 degrees on Tuesday night. Tuesday night, the windchill will hit (negative) -4 degrees. Another 30% chance of snow adds to the wintry mix.

WEDNESDAY into THURSDAY: By 6:00 AM on Wednesday morning, the windchill will hit (negative) -8 degrees. Again, that's -8 for Wednesday's windchill at 6:00 in the morning. The actual temperature will be at 4 degrees on Wednesday morning at 6 AM. During the day, the high will hit 29 and the low Wednesday night will be around 17. Early Thursday morning will be as cold as 20 degrees by 4:00 AM with the windchill at 8 degrees.

“We’re urging motorists to follow the advice of local authorities and stay home if weather conditions begin to deteriorate,” said Megan Cooper, spokesperson for AAA – The Auto Club Group. "If you must get on the road, be sure to have at least a half tank of gas, significantly reduce your speed and stay off closed roads.”

Since high call volumes are also possible during inclement weather, motorists can also request road assistance by using the free AAA Mobile app or

HIGH WINDS: To top off the frigid temps, a wind advisory issued by the National Weather Service, calls for wind speeds between 25 and 35 mph on Friday evening - going into Saturday morning. This advisory impacts Rutherford County and all surrounding counties throughout Middle Tennessee. The weather service warned, "Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Scattered power outages due to fallen trees and minor structural damage is also possible." Those wind gusts can reach speeds of 55 mph!

AAA’s Tips for Stranded Motorists on the Roadside

  • Stay in the vehicle. Your car can provide shelter, allowing emergency responders to best locate you, and prevent you from being struck by an approaching vehicle. If you must get out of the car, ensure the surroundings are safe.

  • To make the gas last longer, don’t leave the car running. If there is an extended traffic jam, turn off the engine for a period, then back on to reheat the inside, when it has gotten too cold again. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free. 

  • Avoid driving on the shoulders or medians of highways to get around the traffic jam. These need to be kept clear for first responders, tow trucks, and emergency vehicles to get to the cause of the stoppage.

  • Cold weather can shorten the range of electric vehicles. EV drivers should plan for more frequent stops for charging and identify the location of charging stations before you hit the road. AAA recommends “pre-heating” the inside of your electric vehicle to a comfortable temperature while still connected to the charger. This will reduce the vehicle’s battery demand to regulate cabin temperature at the onset of driving.

AAA Safety Tips While on the Road

  • If you must be on the road, check the weather before setting out and change plans accordingly.

  • Pack a well-stocked emergency kit with a cell phone car charger, first-aid kit; extra blankets, hats, gloves and coats; plenty of drinking water and non-perishable snacks for passengers, including pets; flashlight and extra batteries; reflective warning triangles; and an ice scraper or snow brush.

  • Always drive at a safe speed that matches the prevailing visibility, traffic and road conditions – even if that means driving below the posted speed limit.

  • Compensate for reduced traction by increasing your following distances (normally three to four seconds) to eight to ten seconds.

  • Allow sufficient room for maintenance vehicles by staying at least 200 feet back and, if you need to pass, go to the other vehicle’s left.

  • Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even if the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.

  • Avoid braking on ice. If you’re approaching a patch of ice, brake during your approach. Control the skid. Applying pressure to your brakes while on ice will throw your car into a skid

  • If you get stuck in snow or ice, straighten the wheel and accelerate slowly. Add sand or kitty litter under the drive wheels to help avoid spinning the tires.

  • If your tires lose traction, continue to look and steer in the direction you want to go. If the drive wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly and then gently resume speed.

  • Slow Down, Move Over. Avoid driving on shoulders or medians so first responders, tow truck operators and emergency vehicles can get to stranded motorists who are in dangerous roadside conditions.

Preparing Your Vehicle for the Winter Road - If driving cannot be avoided, motorists can help keep their vehicles stay safe on the road by checking the following:

  • Remove all snow and ice from car – This includes the hood, roof, trunk, and all lights.

  • Battery strength — Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power. Additionally, batteries that are 3-5 years old will have much less starting power in cold conditions.  

  • Tire inflation — Under-inflated tires can be dangerous, and may suffer damage. Tire air pressure decreases 1-2 psi for every 10 degree temperature drop.

  • Wiper blades — The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.

  • Washer fluid — Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.

Driving in High Winds

  • Anticipate gusts. Pay attention when driving through areas prone to strong winds or when weather reports forecast severe weather.

  • Firmly grip the steering wheel. Remember that your vehicle, light cars, vans and other “boxy” vehicles are more likely to be blown by strong gusts of wind.

  • Increase following distance between your vehicle and others – especially vans, recreational vehicles, and vehicles pulling trailers which may be adversely affected by the wind.

  • Drive in these conditions only when absolutely necessary.

For more tips like these, visit How-To-Go-On-Ice-and-Snow

About AAA - The Auto Club Group - The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 64 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.