Recent cold weather has led to a record number of car accidents in the state of Texas. Texas is somewhat ill-equipped to deal with inclement weather, such as ice and snow, because it is rare when we get it. So when ice sleet and snow shows up on Texas roadways many Texas drivers are not experienced in driving under such adverse conditions.
Driving in snow in Colorado is just another day in the winter for people who live in Colorado. However when living in the Houston area, ice and snow and slick road conditions can be something that you are not prepared to tackle.
A recent article in KHOU Houston covered the problems caused by ice on the roadway on Interstate 10 and also around college station.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol offered some advice for drivers who are driving on ice. They include:
* Keep your cell phone charged and bring a car charger.
* Fill up your gas tank and carry blankets flashlights and jumper cables in your trunk.
* keep a bag of sand or cat litter in the trunk if you expect to drive in snow or ice.
Additionally, they suggest that travelers who may get stranded stay inside their vehicles while they wait for help. Other helpful tips include trying to move your vehicle off the travel portion of the roadway by moving to the shoulder. Getting out of the lane of travel can be an very important safety factor for not only you but other motorists.
Driving on ice can be scary particularly if you hit a patch of ice when you are not suspecting it. If you are driving on ice you need to reduce your speed at the very least. Even driving the speed limit can be dangerous when ice is involved. Be careful though not to break excessively when on ice as it can cause you to lose control and go into a spin. Antilock braking systems (ABS) help reduce the risk of a spin out of control on ice when braking, and you should maintain steady pressure on the brake pedal if you have ABS on your vehicle.
If you do not have an antilock braking system then you should pump your brakes lightly to reduce your speed on ice or snow. If you enter a skid on ice, gently steer into the direction of the skid and slightly apply the gas once you have regained your traction.
The optimum way to combat driving in adverse driving conditions is to delay your trip if possible and drive during better conditions. For many, that is not an option, and you should drive with extreme caution to avoid a car wreck. Proper tires and proper tire maintenance can also help keep you safe on ice and snow.
Many people have suggested that reducing tire pressure may give you extra traction however authorities recommend that you keep manufacturers recommended tire pressure in your tires as reducing air pressure can cause your tires to be under inflated affecting steering and also increase the risk of a tire blowout.
Surprisingly, freezing rain at 30° is twice a slippery as it is at 0°. This also leads to a condition that is quick forming on bridges and overpasses and can lead to your hitting an unexpected patch. If you hit a patch of ice you did not expect, don’t try to break or accelerate, but let up on your accelerator and let your vehicle roll through a slippery area.
Finally, allow plenty of safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you when you are driving in conditions such as ice or snow.