It’s not often that Texans have to battle snow or ice to get to where they’re going. However, it does happen, and when it does you should be prepared. As winter approaches, our Texas car accident lawyers have sought out the 10 best tips for safe driving in winter weather to share with you.
1. Buckle up: The first thing you should do before getting on the road is make sure your seatbelt, and those of your passengers, are properly secured.
2. Check tires: Tire pressure can change quickly, particularly in Texas when the weather can switch between unseasonably warm to wintery cold at an astounding rate. Make sure your tires have tread of at least 4 millimeters and that they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure.
3. Take it slow: If the weather is too harsh, consider delaying your trip until it passes, or start out earlier than to allow time to drive slowly and carefully. This is an important tip no matter how much driving experience you have. Our Texas car accident lawyers note that slowing down is particularly important when approaching bridges or intersections that are icy.
4. No sudden movements: When driving in ice or snow, slow and deliberate steering is important to safety. Acceleration and braking should be done smoothly and gradually.
5. Keep a safe distance: It takes significantly longer to safely decelerate on icy roads than dry ones if a vehicle in front of you hits the brakes. Keep more distance than normal from cars ahead of you to allow for this. Texas car accident lawyers recommend keeping twice the distance you usually would between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
6. Stay to the right: Unless you are passing another vehicle, our Texas car accident lawyers say it’s best to keep to the right-hand, slower traffic lane. When you do need to change lanes, use turn signals and take is slow to minimize the risk of skidding.
7. Lights on: Using your low-beam headlights will make your car more visible to other drivers and also to pedestrians. Low-beams are brighter during daylight hours, and when they are on, your tail lights will also be activated.
8. Watch for “black ice”: In winter weather, the pavement will normally look grey-white. If the roadway looks like shiny new asphalt, you may be seeing what’s known as “black ice.” Because it’s harder to spot than grey or white icy patches, it can be particularly dangerous. Being on the watch for this type of icy patch will help you adjust your driving where needed and navigate this areas safely.
9. Don’t cruise: Cruise control should not be used in icy, snowy or even rainy weather conditions.
10. What to do if you skid: One of the most important things to remember if your rear tires begin to skid is to not hit the brakes right away. Take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want your front wheels to go. For standard brakes, pump them gently to slow down. For anti-lock brakes, steadily and slowly apply pressure. When your front tires begin to skid, take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral. Do not try to steer right away. Your wheels will slowly regain traction; when this happens, turn the steering wheel in the direction you need to go. Put the transition back into drive, and gently begin to accelerate.
The Texas car accident lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers know that even careful drivers sometimes get into accidents because of the negligence of others. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.