How to prepare for winter driving
Many Texans experienced bad driving conditions during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021; tires spun in snow and vehicles slid through ice.
Winter weather can turn travel into a tense experience. Even knowledgeable drivers need reminders about how to commute in sloppy road conditions. The Texas Department of Transportation explains what you should do.
What can Texans do to prepare for safe driving in winter weather?
The last thing you want to be is stranded on the road. Here are some things you can do to prepare:
Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
Check that your car’s fluids are at the right levels.
Check your battery.
Keep cat litter or sand in your vehicle in case you need to drop some around your tires to gain traction on ice.
Before you drive, let your vehicle warm up outside of an enclosed area.
If there’s ice or snow on your car, remove it.
Should people prepare differently for quick trips vs. long-distance trips? There’s no such thing as a quick trip. Anything can happen, so you don’t want to be in a position where you’re out in your pajamas and slippers in cold weather. Make sure whenever you get in your vehicle in cold weather, you are dressed appropriately. This means wearing layers and even having blankets in your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to
have bottled water or snacks available in case you need to wait for roadside assistance. What should people know about driving in winter weather? Slow down. Trucks and higher sitting vehicles can also spin out of control. Always know what your vehicle does or does not do. Is your vehicle rear wheel drive? Front wheel drive? All-wheel drive? Read your owner’s manual and know what your vehicle can do in winter weather and follow those recommendations. How can I check road conditions before driving? Visit DriveTexas.org to get up to date highway conditions. How do you keep from driving drowsy? Make sure you get plenty of sleep before a long drive. Take breaks and stretch your legs. If tired, pull over to a safe spot and get some rest. Driving drowsy is just as bad as driving drunk.