Winter Driving Safety Tips

by Tim O’Hare

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dallas personal injury lawyer, winter driving safetySpring may be just around the corner, but for now, Texas is experiencing an unusually cold — and wet — winter. Snow, ice, and sleet shut down cities and area schools in North Texas last week, and again this week.

Driving on slick roads isn’t something we get much practice with in Texas; this winter weather makes driving conditions unpredictable and dangerous. In this weather, it’s best to stay home and only venture out on the roads if absolutely necessary.

If you do need to get out, it’s important to know what conditions you might encounter. The Texas Department of Transportation offers the following potential hazardous road conditions to look out for:

• Loss of pavement friction due to wet, snow-covered or icy conditions
• Restricted visibility due to fog, falling rain or vehicle spray
• Lane obstruction due to standing water or plowed or blowing snow
• Infrastructure damage (such as a washed-out road)

If you must get out on the roads in these conditions, follow these winter driving safety tips:

• Slow down. Keep in mind that speed limits are set based on normal road conditions. Winter weather makes the road conditions unpredictable so give yourself some extra time.
• Increase following distance. On ice or snow, TxDOT recommends maintaining a following distance at least three times the normal following distance.
• Stay back at least 200 feet from snow removal equipment.
• Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses, and shaded areas.
• Don’t slam on your brakes. If you start to slide, gently ease off the gas pedal or brakes and turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid until you regain control.

If you are involved in an accident during winter weather, follow the same protocol: turn off your car engine and turn on hazard lights; do not leave the scene of the accident; call 9-1-1; exchange information; photograph and document the accident; and file an accident report.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare to speak with a Dallas personal injury attorney.

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