With the latest bout of wintry weather to hit North Texas, many people are doing the smart thing and staying off the road. However, some people will inevitably have to drive, and since it does not usually snow or ice in Texas, we thought it would be a good time to pass along a few tips for driving during bad weather conditions
1. If at all possible, don’t drive!
This isn’t a glib tip. Driving in ice and snow is not fun, and even if conditions seem okay where you are, they might not be that way at your destination. Even if you feel comfortable driving in bad weather, remember that there are plenty of others in Texas that do not regularly drive on wintry mix covered roads. Don’t just think about your experience; think about their inexperience.
2. Do not use cruise control
Just like on rain slicked roads, you do not want to use cruise control while the conditions are icy. Your car will attempt to maintain its current speed and does not have the cognitive skills you do: if the tires lose traction, the car will add more power to your tires and cause you to potentially spin out of control.
3. Increase the lead distance of the car in front of you
It’s recommended that you give the car in front of you 20 seconds of space. A good way to measure this is to look at a landmark the car in front of you has just passed and count in your head the amount of time it takes for your car to reach the same location. While 20 seconds may seem excessive, consider that braking in snow and ice takes far longer and cannot be done hastily.
4. Do not make erratic turns
Even when the road seems clear, turning your wheel suddenly can be dangerous as you might encounter unexpected ice patches. Turning your wheel suddenly on ice could cause you to spin out of control. If this happens, take your foot off the gas and resist the urge to slam on the brakes.
5. Give yourself extra time to get to where you’re going
This is the most important tip. All of these previous pieces of advice will require you to take extra time to get to your destination. The worst thing you can do in ice is to try and rush to your destination. Speeding up on ice and driving recklessly only compounds the dangers of the poor weather conditions. If it usually takes 20 minutes to get to work, consider giving yourself an hour. It’s better to be safe than sorry—or in an accident!
Hopefully the wintry conditions won’t last much longer, but keep these helpful tips in mind even after the ice melts. No one enjoys driving on ice, but if you remember these tips, you can do your best to make the road a safer place. And always remember: even if you feel comfortable driving on ice, others might not! The greatest danger on the road isn’t necessarily the ice; it’s usually other drivers!