The forecast calls for freezing temperatures here in the next few days. It’s time to pull out the warm clothes and prepare for driving on possibly treacherous roads, if not this week in the next month or two.
Every year 6,253 people tragically die and more than 480,000 are injured in weather-related accidents. Of course, the weather is not always the reason for the crash — it’s often the way people drive in it.
Driving on wet, icy roads with poor visibility is very different than in our usually good North Texas weather conditions. Yet many drivers make no changes to their typical driving patterns, even on interstates. Add that to the fact that Texans usually have little experience driving in winter conditions and you can expect a lot of crashes.
Reckless and inexperienced drivers may not adjust their speed, braking, steering and vehicular distance to the slick roads. And they don’t know how to react when they come upon an accident or their wheels start to slide and crash into other vehicles. No one can drive safely on poor roads.
If you feel like you are gliding along the highway, you probably are . . . on a patch of black ice. You can’t see this invisible winter hazard until you hit it, so it’s impossible to avoid.
Preparation is the key. If you are paying close attention to the road and driving at a safe speed for the conditions, you should be able to drive over the ice without incident. However, you can find yourself sliding out of control if you do not anticipate the ice or know what to do.
The best way to avoid icy roadways is to not drive in these conditions. Of course, that may not be possible. But limit driving as much as possible when road conditions are the worst, usually early in the morning hours or late at night. Be especially wary of bridges, overpasses, underpasses, and hills and plan an alternative route..
If you must drive and the roads are poor, take these precautions:
Stay safe out there this week.