The Winter Freeze
Although here in Texas we’re known more for hot temperatures than cold, that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and no rain. In the winter the occasional freeze is all the more dangerous due to its rarity, and the lack of knowledge most of us have in how to deal with driving in these unfamiliar conditions.
When the rough weather hits, most Texans either stay at home in fear or drive dangerously. Luckily, there’s a happy medium that can be found if you know how to deal with the patches of ice. Here are some tips recommended by the Texas Department of Insurance for a safe driving experience.
- Get a Tune Up
Make sure your car is in tip-top shape by tuning up at a mechanic before the winter season hits. Have them check your lights, battery, tire pressure and tread, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil level. This will ensure your vehicle can handle tough conditions to the best of its ability.
- Plan Ahead
Plan the safest route to take to your destination, and leave plenty of extra time for your trip. The majority of winter accidents are caused by being in a hurry and lack of caution. Go slow and don’t cut corners in an attempt to save time, as safety is of paramount importance.
- Use Caution When Driving on Bridges and Overpasses
Elevated roadways are actually the first to freeze in cold weather. These include bridges, ramps, overpasses, and shaded areas. Since these are also often areas with a high speed limit, be very careful here and resist the urge to drive as you normally would.
- Stay in the Vehicle if You Are Stranded or Stalled
Make sure you have a cell-phone or two-way radio with you to call for help if needed.
- Take an emergency kit
In case something happens, it’s recommended to have an emergency kit with you with necessary supplies, such as a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, a tow rope, and a windshield scraper and brush.
The Key Lesson
Of course, the most important thing to remember is to drive slowly and cautiously. Maintain extra distance from the cars in front of you, and start braking early in anticipation of slipping and sliding. If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to maintain your driving ability in the Texas winter freezes, not cowering indoors and able to get where you need to go safely and assuredly.