'Winter' written in ice with hand and blue ice scraper scraping it off

How to Handle Winter Driving Conditions

Earlier this year, a cold front blew through North Texas, causing snow and sleet in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The Dallas Daily News shared a winter storm watch and some helpful safety tips from the National Weather Service. As we head into winter once again, these tips are worth revisiting. We’ve also added advice from other reliable sources around the web, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), AAA, the National Safety Council, and Business Insider.

Slow Down

All our sources agree – the number one tip for driving in snow or ice is to SLOW DOWN. Adjust your speed to account for lower traction and allow plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. AAA recommends 5 to 6 seconds of following distance. Don’t use cruise control, as this could lead to driving at speeds that are inappropriate for constantly-changing conditions.

Stay Constant

Accelerate and decelerate slowly to get traction and account for skids, and don’t stop if you can avoid it. You should also avoid making sharp turns or braking suddenly, as any sudden move could cause a skid. If you see a stoplight turn yellow, slow down and try to keep rolling until the light changes.

On hills, gradually speed up before reaching the hill and let the inertia carry you to the top. Don’t stop or apply extra gas, as this could make your wheels spin or cause a scary slide. When you get to the top of the hill, reduce your speed and go downhill slowly, braking lightly if you need to.

Steer Into Skids

If your vehicle skids, gently steer into the direction of the skid to regain control. You can brake gently if you need to but resist the urge to steer away from the skid. When braking, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.

Be Prepared

Before driving in winter weather conditions, ask yourself if you really need to go. If your trip can wait, it’s better to stay home until the bad weather passes. If you do need to go out, make sure your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread – and that your gas tank is at least half full throughout the entire winter. Never warm up your vehicle in an enclosed space, as this could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Keep warm clothing, blankets, water, and non-perishable foods in your car, as well as any medications you may need, a first-aid kit, and a glass scraper.

At the start of the season, check for recalls and have your car serviced. Ask about any adjustments your vehicle may need for the winter, such as wiper fluid rated for cold temperatures.

Drive Sober and Focused

Never drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and remember that one drink is enough to impair. Avoid distractions, like your cell phone, any time you are behind the wheel.

As always, be on the lookout for potential hazards and drive defensively. The extra care you take could save your life or someone else’s.

Dealing With Irresponsible Drivers

If you see a drunk, distracted, or aggressive driver on the road, steer clear. Never engage with someone who seems angry and call 911 if you feel unsafe or need to report a drunk driver.

Unfortunately, some drivers just don’t know how to handle winter weather, and car accidents become more prevalent in the winter months. If you are harmed by someone who isn’t taking enough care, MR Civil Justice can help.

Call us at (214) 307-8387 to schedule your free consultation or contact us online for more information.

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