Security and Safety

Winter Driving Safety

By Natalie Gempel 12.9.16

In Texas, you never know when icy or snowy conditions will hit  — but most parts of the state get a visit from Old Man Winter each year, whether they want it or not.

A little winter weather might be fun — but driving in it? Not so much. When the weather outside is frightful, it’s best to stay indoors and wait it out; but if you’ve got to get somewhere, you can prepare yourself by following these tips.

1. Make a kit.

Prepare for emergencies by keeping these essential winter travel items in your car: water bottles, cell phone charger, ice scraper and brush, tow ropes, flares, bag of sand or cat litter (for traction), flashlight, blanket, distress flag (a bright piece of fabric will do), and snacks.

2. Plan ahead.

Map out your route before you get behind the wheel, and try to stick to familiar streets. It’s best to stay on main roads and highways and avoid hilly areas whenever possible. Check the conditions before you leave, and look for alternate routes just in case. You may note rest areas, towns, and gas stations along your route as well.

3. Ready your car.

Fill up your gas tank — even if you’re only going a short distance. Clear your entire car of snow and ice, including the roof, windows, and windshield, for maximum visibility.

4. Slow down.

Hold your horses! Driving too fast is a common and dangerous mistake on wintry roads. Slowing down can prevent skidding and give you more control. This is especially important when other vehicles are close. Give yourself more distance than usual and more time to brake. Consider 45 mph the maximum speed to safely travel on an icy road — but most situations require even slower speeds.

5. Keep your cool.

If your vehicle skids, remain calm, and take these steps to regain control. Don’t brake during a skid, but gently steer in the direction that you want the front of the car to go. If your car slides during a turn, correct it by letting off the accelerator and turning into the slide.

6. Stay alert.

In winter, your body can become depleted of nutrients more quickly. Make sure to eat enough and drink plenty of water to stay energized and focused. Making regular stops to stretch is another great way to stay focused when driving long distances.

7. Prep your policy.

Talk to your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent to make sure your auto policy covers any potential winter driving liabilities or mishaps.

Ready to take these safety tips for a test drive? Consider one of these Texas winter road trips! And don’t forget to call your Agent before hitting the road to make sure your auto insurance policy is up-to-date.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation.

© 2016 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance