Long before the first winter storm hits, every American worries about snowy roads, power outages and ice. It is not just a natural dislike of snow shovels and frigid temperatures. Winter weather creates real dangers for motorists. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death during winter storms. If you are lucky, you may only have to call a Houston auto glass repair company to fix your cracked windshield. If you are not so fortunate, you could total your car, sustain injuries or never make it to your destination. That is why it is important to exercise caution when driving on winter roads. If you have to leave home during this current winter storm, follow these tips.
Even an experienced driver can go off the road or have an accident in adverse conditions. Safe driving starts with good equipment. Here in Texas, it is rare for drivers to invest in snow tires or studs. If you are using three-season tires, they need to have excellent tread. Woody Rogers, an expert from Tire Rack, asks customers to consider the worst conditions that they will have to drive through during the winter. If your tires are worn, do not wait to replace them. Low tread becomes more apparent in cold temperatures when the rubber hardens and loses its gripping ability. Likewise, it is smart to invest in new windshield wipers and pick up a gallon of windshield washer fluid that resists freezing.
Good preparation is important if you need to drive on winter roads. Before you leave home, you should check your lights and take the time to clear snow and ice from your vehicle. If you do not, sheets of ice and snow could fly from your car and damage another driver’s windshield. Companies that specialize in auto glass in Houston recommend that customers carry ice scrapers in their cars at all times. If you have been driving on wet roads, check your brakes. Wet brakes have very little stopping power. In extreme conditions, precipitation can instantly freeze on your brakes and cause you to lose control. This type of situation can happen anywhere.
Emergencies happen. Understanding how to handle skids and hazardous conditions is critical. It is easy to panic when you lose control of your vehicle. If you feel that your front or rear tires have lost traction, remove your foot from the gas pedal immediately. This will slow your vehicle and minimize the skid. If you have not regained control, gently turn the wheel into the skid. Never turn away or overcorrect. This can cause you to spin out or go off the road.
Driving teachers warn that modern safety features give motorists a false sense of security. Putting too much confidence in electronic stability controls and all-wheel or four-wheel drive is one of the most common mistakes. In extreme conditions, these systems have very little effect, especially if you are driving too fast. Four-wheel drive, for example, increases forward traction, but it cannot help you turn corners or stop on icy roads.
In Houston, we are lucky to have nice weather for most of the year, but we still experience severe winter storms that bring ice, slush and freezing rain. To stay safe, always turn your lights on to increase visibility. Pay special attention to bridges and overpasses because they can be icy when other parts of the road are dry. Anticipate curves and hills by braking or slowing down early. Remember that black ice often occurs several days after a storm when water has had a chance to melt and refreeze. Following these winter weather driving tips will ensure your safety and hopefully prevent you from calling a Houston mobile windshield repair company or having an accident.