Winter conditions can make a daily commute dangerous. Northern states tend to have ample resources to keep streets safe in the harshest conditions. However, states like Texas typically do not need aggressive snow removal equipment.
Icy roads can be particularly problematic, especially if you are not accustomed to driving on them.
Here are some tips for staying safe when the roads are slick.
Know your vehicle and your skills
You may not need snow tires in Texas, but an icy day is also not the time to drive on worn-out tires. If your tires are very worn, it may not be safe to venture out.
Also, keep in mind the type of vehicle you have. Cars with front-wheel drive tend to be challenging to drive on ice. If your vehicle has front-wheel drive and you must go, put a bag of sand, salt or something else that is heavy (about 50 pounds or more) in your trunk to help with traction. If your car has four-wheel drive, this is an excellent time to use it.
Beware of black ice
Black ice is so named because it blends in with the rest of the pavement. It is difficult to see because it forms without making any air bubbles.
The best way to deal with black ice is to know when to expect it. Typically, it forms in the early morning or late at night when temperatures drop to their lowest. You will also find black ice in areas where the road is shaded from the sun, like under bridges.
Overpasses tend to freeze over and retain more ice than other roads because the cold air can circulate the entire roadway.
If you must travel on an overpass, watch your speed and the traffic in front of you. Try to anticipate when traffic might slow down, so you do not need to slam on the brakes.
Controlling a skid
It is almost inevitable that when you are driving on ice, there will be a moment when you feel your vehicle slip. It is crucial to handle the situation calmly, so you do not overreact. Instead, do the following:
- Keep the wheel straight
- Do not slam on the brakes
- If you must adjust, turn gently into the skid
Even for the most experienced, ice can be a difficult road condition to handle. When you can focus on the issue and handle the situation calmly, you can have a better outcome.