Winter weather in Austin, Texas, may be a rare occurrence, but when it hits, it can catch drivers off guard. Snow and ice can transform familiar roads into hazardous landscapes, demanding extra caution from motorists.
To ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road, here is a comprehensive guide on how to drive safely in snow and ice in Austin.
Increase following distance
In icy conditions, the normal following distance might not be enough. Increase your following distance to at least 5 to 6 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. This extended gap provides ample time to react to sudden stops or maneuvers, reducing the likelihood of collisions.
Sharp turns, sudden lane changes and abrupt stops can lead to loss of control on icy roads. Make all your maneuvers slow and gentle. Gradually apply the brakes, ease into turns and avoid jerky movements that could result in skidding.
Notice tire traction
Check your tires regularly, especially during winter. Ensure they have sufficient tread depth, as worn-out tires are more prone to slipping on icy surfaces. Consider investing in winter tires designed to provide better traction in cold and slippery conditions.
Keep your lights on
Visibility can be severely compromised during snowfall or icy conditions. Always drive with your headlights on, even during the day, to enhance your vehicle’s visibility to others. This small step can significantly reduce the risk of accidents.
Bridges and overpasses freeze first due to their elevated nature, so approach them with extra caution. Be prepared for sudden icy patches, and avoid making abrupt moves when driving over these structures.
As recently as 2021, Austin faced a 5.4-inch snowfall within 24 hours, which means that snow and ice are possible during the winter. By following these simple yet effective tips, you can navigate Austin’s winter roads safely no matter what they look like. Remember, it is better to arrive a bit later than risk your safety and the safety of others on the road.