It looks like the weather man is predicting icy rain this week in Texas. While I spent most of my early driving years in the Midwest, braving the weather conditions, I am not quite confident about driving on ice. I am reluctant to prepare for freezing temperatures since the weather man is not always spot-on. That would be the best job in the world, being the weather man. You can be completely wrong in your weather predictions and still get paid. I’m sure the six figure job comes with dental and a 401k as well.
If we do find ourselves in a winter wonderland, I’d prefer to curl up under a blanket and avoid driving if I can. Here in Texas, our transportation department is less equipped to respond to icy road conditions than, say, the Midwest or anywhere up north. Drivers here in Texas have less experience and preparation for winter driving. And they find themselves at a high risk of getting in an accident whenever winter affects the roads. In fact, Texas is on the top 10 list for winter driving fatalities. For the drivers out there taking their chances, here are a few tips for driving in icy weather.
You can prepare yourself and your car to help safely navigate icy roads. Starting with good tires, no matter how safe you drive, you won’t get very far without good traction. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread left on them before you drive on icy roads. If they’re bald, unfortunately, you can’t just “comb” the tread over the bald spots. Make sure they have plenty of tread left on them before you drive on icy roads. I feel so very fortunate that I have a car with four-wheel drive (4WD), which can hug icy roads better than those with two-wheel drive or so I thought. Come to find out a four-wheel drive vehicle slides just just as well as a two-wheel drive. So don’t think you can just go plowing along, immune from the elements.
Reduce your speed on icy roads. On slick roads, even driving the speed limit can put you at risk of getting in an accident or getting a ticket. At higher speeds, you won’t have as much reaction time plus, it takes twice as long to stop on icy roads. You simply have less control over your car at higher speeds in bad weather.
But, before you even get into the car, there are several things to check before you venture out. Make sure your windshield wipers are functioning and have an adequate amount of wiper fluid in the reservoir. Check your battery to see if it’s not going to let you down. If it’s old, you may consider getting a new one. Top off your antifreeze so you don’t damage your car’s cooling system and cause your radiator block to crack. And keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the winter months.
Now, to prepare YOU. Stock up on some jumper cables, an ice scraper, an emergency kit, a flashlight and a bag of cat litter to sprinkle for traction, should you get stuck on an icy road. Blankets, snacks and water wouldn’t hurt as well. And make sure you have your phone charger in case you need to call for assistance. Better yet, just don’t drive!
Until next week…
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Driving on Ice – Comedy Defensive Driving