Winter Driving Safety Tips

In Safety Tips by nortexsuper

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Texas can be a little bit unpredictable when it comes to the weather. But it is safe to say that this winter has been a cold one. One of the coldest in quite some time. Although we have had a few cold and icy winters, still, many native Texans are not accustomed to driving in colder conditions, such as on icy roads, or with strong winds. If you are inexperienced in driving in winter conditions, you should definitely take the time to read over some of our winter driving safety tips. And even if you perhaps are somewhat experienced in driving in the cold weather, it is still important that you take a minute to remind yourself of the precautions of operating a vehicle during the winter.

#1 Firstly, have your car serviced

Take your car over to a nearby McKinney car shop to ensure that your vehicle is in optimal condition. There are various operational factors to be considered when preparing your car to be driven in winter conditions. Check that all the various parts of your car are in working order, such as headlights, brake lights, emergency flashers, windshield wipers, etc. Tires tend to deflate in colder weather, it is important to have things like this checked before getting on the road during the winter road conditions. 

#2 Slow down

You should be aware that speed limits are set according to what is safe when driving in normal road and weather conditions, not for winter road conditions. So, when it is cold outside, you should be aware and paying attention to your speed. Slow down and drive much slower than usual, especially if the roads may be icy. Distracted driving during the winter months is even more dangerous than in normal driving conditions, as you are presented with additional hazards, such as wet and icy roads. If you are driving too fast in winter conditions, you will have even less control or ability to handle your car if you somehow lose control of the vehicle.

#3 Maintain a longer following distance

When driving in winter conditions, you should maintain longer following distances behind other vehicles, as opposed to your typical following distance in normal weather conditions. It is advised that one maintain about a two-second trailing distance behind another vehicle in normal driving conditions, but during winter months, it is best to maintain about three times this amount to be at a safe distance. Therefore, you should be about six seconds behind cars driving in front of you.

#4 Stay aware of your surroundings

You should always be focused on the road while driving, but it is even more important during winter weather conditions. Stay focused and aware of your surroundings. Make sure that you are always on the lookout for ice on the roads, and keep in mind that bridges, ramps, and overpasses, as well as shaded areas, have a tendency to be the first to freeze in cold weather. When driving over said types of surfaces, take extra care.

#5 Know how to handle your car on ice

Many people have a tendency to want to slam on their brakes when they have hit the ice on the road, but this is the opposite of what you should do. Hitting the brakes worsens the situation and causes your car to slide more, and go more out of your control. If you hit ice and begin sliding, ease up, and remove pressure from the gas pedal, release the brakes, and proceed to turn your vehicle in the direction that your car is sliding. Your tires should then gain traction again, where you will then be able to straighten out your vehicle.

#6 Stock your vehicle in preparation for an emergency situation

In order to prepare for any sort of driving emergency in the winter months, you should stock your car with the appropriate items to assist you and any said situation. The types of items you may want to consider storing in your vehicle are…

  • A snow shovel
  • An ice scraper
  • Sand or similar material for if your vehicle becomes stuck in the snow
  • Blankets
  • A cell phone and charger
  • Water and food
  • Jumper cables
  • Warning devices, i.e., flares or emergency markers

If you have more questions about winter driving safety or are looking for a place to visit for car maintenance in McKinney, here at Nortex Lube and Tune, we would love to be of assistance. Let our trusted team of automobile experts help keep you safe this winter. Contact us, or come by today.