Celebrating with family, and seeing old friends is what makes the holidays some of the best times of the year! With all the excitement taking place, it’s particularly important to keep safety at the top of the priority list. We can all recall that winter weather has been especially unpredictable the past few years, so if you’re planning on hitting the road, keep Yuletide spirits high and everybody safe with winter weather driving tips.
According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms, bad weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road fatalities every winter. Don’t forget to winterize your car’s emergency kit, too. Some key items to keep include umbrellas, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, duct tape, trash bags, bungee cords, hand warmers, water-resistant gloves, window scraper, blanket, solar-powered battery charger, kitty litter (for traction on slick surfaces), a small shovel for digging out of snow drifts, jumper cables, and an extra gallon of windshield washer fluid.
Cold Weather Driving Tips
AAA recommends the following tips to consider before driving in snowy and icy conditions:
- Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications, and more.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
- Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Never use hot water to melt ice off your windshield. Use tube socks instead! When you arrive at your destination, slip a sock over each windshield wiper. You can thank us later.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.
Remember! Not driving to conditions is considered negligent or reckless driving.
Child Passenger Safety Tip
Bulky or puffy coats should not be used underneath a car seat harness. Bulky clothing makes it difficult to tighten a car seat harness properly. A loose harness is dangerous and can lead to serious injuries or even ejection from the car seat in a crash. Instead, properly buckle the harness first, then place a coat or blanket over the buckled child. This will not interfere with the harness and will still keep the child warm. For more information, you can visit the Winter Car Seat Safety Tips on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) website for parents.
Snowy Weather Driving Tips
- Stay home.
- Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
- Drive slowly.
- Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Increase your following distance to five to six seconds.
- This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
- Know your brakes.
- Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it.
- There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills.
- Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
- Don’t stop going up a hill.
- There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
- Know how to drive safely on icy roads.
- Avoid driving until roads have been plowed and sanded. Don’t overestimate your capability of driving in weather conditions you’ve never been subjected to as well. Most Texans do not know how to safely drive on icy roads.
- Know alternate routes to your destination.
Long-Distance Driving Tips
Long-distance road trips mean frequent stops, storing snacks and water, keeping the gas tank half full at all times, and carrying your cellphone and a charger with you at all times.
- Be Prepared.
- Have your vehicle checked by an auto repair facility before hitting the road.
- Check the Weather.
- Check the weather along your route and when possible, delay your trip if bad weather is expected.
- Stay Connected.
- Before hitting the road, notify others and let them know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
Call Angel Reyes – Reyes Browne Reilley for a free consultation
If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury from a car, motorcycle, or truck wreck that was of no fault of their own, they need a lawyer. Climate conditions is not a new topic, but has become increasingly more relevant within recent years – especially for motorists traveling during the holidays.
Texans know our weather is always unpredictable, but after the winter storm of 2021, proactive precautions are needed now more than ever. Our attorneys at Angel Reyes – Reyes Browne Reilley acknowledges no one can predict the weather; however, negligent or reckless driving should never be a reason for someone to risk your wellbeing. Driving accordingly to conditions is a responsibility every motorist has when behind the wheel of a car. To learn more, contact us immediately for a 100% free consultation. Tap above to call us, or submit a form here now.