Driving in the snow in Texas can be difficult. Additionally, we are using the word snow very loosely, this is Texas after all. But, this weekend we saw a huge change in our weather, making driving conditions a little different than what we are used to. We take a look at some of the best ways to drive safely under these winter advisory storms.
Tips for driving in a winter storm
1. Get your car ready
Getting your vehicle ready before taking off is key! Make sure to defrost windows and remove ice from any covered areas. Always try to remove the snow from your hood as well! Removing the snow from your hood will prevent it from falling and blocking the view from other vehicles driving behind. Another handy tip, keep your windshield wipers fresh. If it has been a couple years since they have been replaced, it may be time.
2. Keep your distance and slow down while driving in Texas snow!
We go over the appropriate amount of distance in our course but, when conditions are bad these need to be even more exaggerated! You should allow around 3-4x as much space as you normally do. This comes out to be Around 8-10 seconds behind a vehicle. An eight-ten second following distance means your car should pass an object (like a road sign) eight-ten seconds after the car in front of you passes it.
This is by far the most common mistake we see. Driving to fast and tailgating a vehicle is one of the leading causes of accidents during a storm. Even with the appropriate snow tires (which most of us do not have in the lone star state) a vehicle can not stop as quickly as it can under normal conditions. If you do find yourself in need to break, try to avoid slamming on them in order to prevent skidding. Also, reminder to never use your cruise control while in there types of road conditions!
3. Steering over breaking
Deciding if you need to break of steer away from an accident is different from every situation. We check out what AAA Texas had to say about how people can best decide what to do in theses situations.
“Some driving situations require abrupt action to avoid a crash or collision and in winter conditions the decision to steer or brake can have very different outcomes. When traveling more than 25 mph, AAA Texas recommends steering over braking to avoid a collision in winter-like conditions, as less distance is required to steer around an object than to brake to a stop. In slick conditions, sudden braking can lead to loss of vehicle control. However, sometimes steering is not an option. Braking on slippery surfaces requires you to look further ahead and increase following and stopping distances. Plan stopping distances as early as possible and always look 20-30 seconds ahead of your vehicle to ensure you have time and space to stop safely.”
4. Keep an emergency kit, just in case
We all know Texas weather can be unpredictable. It is never a bad idea to keep an emergency kit in your truck just in case! Good things to pack in your kit are warning flares and reflective triangles, a bag of kitty litter or sand for traction, extra clothes, gloves, hand warmers, hats and thermal blankets.
5. Don’t forget your basic driver safety!
Reminder to not forget your basics! Remember to always wear your seat belt! This was is a non negotiable. Stay off your phone while during. Make all lights are working and keep them on while driving in a snow storm. Check your tire pressure and your car battery! Both of these tend to have issues during sudden changes of temperature.
Remember to stay safe and if you or anyone you know needs to relearn some defensive driving you can always send them here.
Comedy Defensive Driving