Full disclosure... I was born and have lived all of my life in NC. There are multiple balls in the air here...
Driving on snow is completely different than driving on ice. People from the north seem to be no better at understanding this distinction than people in the south. I have zero issues driving on the snow, but I try and stay off the roads when they are covered in ice. Chains do nothing for you on ice. Four wheel drive does little to nothing for you on ice.
In most of NC there is very little average snowfall for the winter... and usually not "big" storms to speak of most years. We certainly could pay and have a lot of road-clearing equipment that sits around most of the winter and most years... but that would normally be a waste of money for the rare times we do wish we had more equipment to clear the roads. It is a judgement call that pays off most years. It isn't like in the north where you can depend on routinely needing to clear lots of snow.
Also... in the larger cities to the north, people are closer together... so you don't have to clear nearly as much road to get the city going again. Things are spread out more here... so we need to clear more roads in a shorter period of time to get things going. In a city like New York, for example, there are lots of things in walking distance for a lot of people... so people can get out and get around much more quickly in those areas.
We are generally prepared for a much smaller storm.. so if you're being fair... you'd have to compare say when 30-40+ inches get dumped in the north... and you'll note it takes them a while to dig out of that if it is over a large enough area... so they too can be overwhelmed when a storm larger than what they normally budget for hits.
And again, to revisit the ice vs snow... freezing rain and ice tends to collect on trees and power lines... and it makes stuff fall... and creates a lot of havoc beyond the unsafe roads... and here in NC we have a much more likelihood of an ice storm than they do in the north typically. There also isn't much you can do to prepare for an ice storm really... you can only react to it.