As winter weather begins to grace Texas with its chilly presence, it brings along unique challenges for drivers. This year, based on a report from the Farmers’ Almanac, Texas will experience an unseasonably cold and stormy winter season.
In the first installment of our 3-part Winter Driving Safety series, we will delve into ways you can prepare your vehicle for winter weather.
What Can I Do to Prepare My Vehicle for Winter?
Preparing your vehicle for winter is not just a precautionary measure; it's a crucial step in ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road. Annually, more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement (as stated by the Federal Highway Administration).
The colder months bring with them a unique set of challenges, and a well-prepared vehicle becomes your reliable companion in navigating the hazardous winter conditions. By taking proactive steps to winterize your vehicle, you significantly reduce the risk of breakdowns, accidents, and ensure a smoother, more secure journey through the winter season.
Ensure Adequate Tire Traction and Pressure
Proper tire maintenance is not just a safety concern; it's a practical one too. In winter conditions, tires with sufficient tread depth are crucial for traction. Well-maintained tires can help prevent accidents, and having the right ones can make a significant difference in slippery conditions. Car Talk reports that tire pressure can drop by approximately one pound for every 10-degree Fahrenheit decrease in temperature. Insufficient tire pressure can adversely impact your vehicle's handling, underscoring the importance of maintaining proper tire inflation.
Battery Health and Reliability
A weak battery can lead to breakdowns, potentially causing accidents. Ensuring your battery is in top condition is not only a safety measure but also a way to avoid inconvenient situations during winter.
Brake Inspection: Stopping Safely
Getting your brakes inspected is a critical step in winterizing your vehicle. Icy roads and slippery conditions require reliable braking. Properly functioning brakes contribute to your safety and help ensure you can stop safely in challenging conditions.
Visibility in Challenging Conditions
Proper visibility is essential for safe driving, especially during winter. Worn-out wiper blades and inadequate washer fluid can hinder your view, increasing the risk of accidents. Regularly check and replace wiper blades to maintain clear visibility.
Antifreeze Levels for Engine Health
Proper antifreeze levels are vital for your vehicle's winter performance. A well-maintained engine is less likely to contribute to accidents caused by mechanical failure. Keeping your antifreeze levels in check is a practical safety precaution to ensure your engine operates smoothly in cold temperatures.
Lighting the Way
Functioning lights are essential for practical safety. Inadequate lighting can lead to accidents. Regularly check your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals to ensure they're in working order, helping you navigate the roads safely.
Keep Your Gas Tank Near Full
Maintaining a near-full gas tank is a practical tip for winter driving. A fuller tank ensures you have enough fuel in case of unexpected delays or emergencies. It's a simple yet effective way to stay prepared during the winter months.
Winter Emergency Kit
Being prepared for unexpected situations is as crucial as vehicle maintenance. In case of an accident or breakdown, having an emergency kit with essentials like a blanket, extra clothing, non-perishable snacks, a flashlight, and a first aid kit is a practical way to stay safe on the road.
What to Do if You’re Injured in a Winter Weather Related Accident?
As we navigate the winter roads in Texas, let's not only prioritize safety but also legal preparedness. If you find yourself injured in a car accident, contact MAS Law for expert guidance and support. Stay tuned for the next blog in our Winter Driving Safety series, where we'll dive into our Winter Driving Checklist. Drive safely, stay prepared, and remember that MAS Law is available 24/7 to provide you with the support you need.