Weather Center

How to Navigate Icy Roads

By Peter Simek 11.15.18

Texas weather is defined by extremes. We have tornadoes and hurricanes, heat waves and droughts, monsoonlike rains and crazy winter storms. This season, before you are surprised by the next wintry blast or frozen mix, make sure you know how to deal with extreme winter weather — including ice, snow, wind, sleet, and freezing rain — before you hit the road.

Prep Your Car for Winter Surprises

Even if you live in a part of the state that doesn’t experience extremely cold weather, it’s important to stay prepared in case your travels take you into colder parts of the state or a freak winter storm hits (not unheard of in Texas).

  • At the beginning of winter, have a mechanic check the basics: battery, antifreeze, wipers, windshield washer fluid, thermostat, defroster, tire tread, and oil level.
  • Keep extra winter gear, like gloves, scarves, warm hats, and blankets, in the car.
  • When traveling, top off your gas tank. If you do get stuck in bad weather, you’ll need to keep your car running to stay warm.
  • Check road conditions and weather reports before you head out.

Practice Cautious Driving

Hitting icy roads can be a nerve-racking experience, but the best way to stay safe is to remain calm and not panic.

  • If you are driving on slick or icy roads, reduce your speed and increase the distance between your vehicle and other cars.
  • Stay attentive to service vehicles on the road — plows, sand and gravel spreaders, and service vehicles — which may be moving slower than the speed of traffic.
  • Always use your headlights to increase visibility.
  • Do not use cruise control in icy conditions.
  • Be prepared to stop.
  • If you begin to slide or hydroplane, don’t panic or slam on the brakes. If you have antilock brakes, don’t pump them. Take your foot off the gas, use your steering wheel to guide the car gently in the direction of the skid, and allow the car to slow down and regain traction.

Keep Your Cool When Stranded

If your car becomes stranded in wintry weather, it is important to stay safe and warm.

  • Maneuver your vehicle to the side of the road.
  • Stay in the vehicle with your heat on.
  • Keep a cell phone charger handy so you can contact authorities and assistance.
  • Make sure your vehicle is stocked with safety equipment, including jumper cables, spare tire, flares, and a flashlight.

Make sure you’re protected on the road ahead with a policy that gives you coverage for any occurrence and an insurance Agent who will steer you right.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance