Drive Smart in Extreme Weather
As Texans prepare for the colder weather, it’s important to drive smart by practicing safe driving to get to your destination safe and sound. The safest way to drive during extreme conditions is to not drive at all. However, waiting it out may not always be possible. If you must or persist to drive in a storm, be prepared. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 17% of all vehicle crashes occur during extreme conditions.
Extreme Weather Safe Driving Tips
- Schedule routine tune-ups and maintenance year-round for your vehicle. Pay special attention to your vehicle’s battery, wipers, coolant, tires and other systems that can take a beating when the temperature drops.
- According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, reduce your driving speed by 1/3 on wet roads and by 1/2 or more on snow packed roads (i.e., if you normally travel at a speed of 60 mph on a dry road, then you should reduce your speed to 40 mph in the rain or 30 mph in the snow).
- Don’t tailgate. Increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you. Every vehicle handles wet, icy or snowy roads differently.
- Turn your car lights on. During storms, visibility is low. One of the best ways to be seen by other drivers is to have your car lights on.
- Before you leave, know the weather and traffic conditions, and plan your route accordingly. Monitor Texas road conditions at DriveTexas.org and check any current road enhancements on NET RMA’s website.
- Observe local hazard light laws. In Texas it is legal to drive in the rain with your hazard lights on. This law does not apply to all states like Louisiana and Florida, which is illegal. Blinking lights can be a distraction in dangerous conditions and make it harder to see turn signals or brake lights.
- Avoid flooded roadways. The depth of water is not always obvious. Rapidly rising water may stall the engine, engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away. Look out for flooding at highway dips, bridges and low areas. Two feet of water will carry away most cars.
- Have backup supplies prepared. Keep blankets, flashlights, jumper cables, and flares or emergency lights in your vehicle. Even if you don’t need them, they can be used to help someone else in need on the road.
- For Emergencies, call 911
- For Roadside Assistance, call 800-525-5555
- For Current TxDOT Road Information, visit drivetexas.org
- For NET RMA, call 903-630-7894or email [email protected]