Texas weather is famous for being unpredictable year-round. It can be 75 degrees in the morning, and 40 degrees by afternoon. If you live here, you have probably said the phrase “if you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait 5 minutes” dozens of times. But of all the wacky seasons, winter is the most dangerous. It doesn’t always snow, but you can almost always count on it to get icy here and there, and while we don’t get nearly as much as a lot of places, it can be incredibly dangerous since our cars are not typically equipped to handle such conditions and we are not in any way accustomed to that kind of driving. Although winter weather doesn’t take up any significant time period of the year (anywhere from a day or two, to a couple weeks) it is still a good idea to know how to handle those kind of conditions, on and off the road. Here are a few guidelines to help you if/when those days come.
Avoid Driving If At All Possible.
Easier said than done, right? Life doesn’t want to stop just because the weather said so. But ask yourself, is the need to get out worth the potential loss, be it a costly accident or a life, really worth it? Our rule is: if the school systems close, we do too. They won’t risk children’s lives for a day of school, why should you risk yours to go to work or run errands? Stock up your kitchen and other essentials before bad weather, so you are not forced to go out.
If You Must Drive, Follow The Rules.
Wear Your Seatbelt!
Check The Air Pressure In Your Tires.
If your tires are low on air, you are at a significantly higher risk of losing control in ice and rain.
Pre-heat Your Car Interior.
Turn the car on at least 10 minutes before you leave, so it will have time to warm the inside. Not only is it uncomfortable to drive when it’s just as cold in the car as it is outside, but if you are too cold you will be more frigid in stance, and more likely to press too hard on the gas and brakes and jerk the steering wheel. And being comfortable will help you focus better on the situation at hand.
Make Sure All Windows Are Defrosted And Clear Before You Leave.
You need all the visibility you can get, even if you are just going around the corner.
Check The Weather and Traffic Report Before You Leave.
Make sure you know exactly what conditions you are getting into, so you don’t find yourself stuck behind a wreck or battling a storm when it looked clear before.
Turn Into A Skid.
The same applies for hydroplaning, if you find yourself out of control of the car, slowly turn the wheel in the direction you are going, this will help you regain control.
Don’t Go Normal Speed And Don’t Slam Your Brakes For Any Reason.
Go as slow as you can without disrupting the flow of traffic, which can make things worse. Under no circumstance should you press hard on your brakes, you will lose control of the car. If you think you are going to go into the back of a car or object, stay calm and slowly apply the brakes. It is better to hit something at a slower speed than skid trying to avoid it and potentially make it a more serious accident.
For more information on safe driving in icy conditions, check out IceRoadSafety.com Tips To Remember.