Safe Driving Tips for Texas Highways This Season

Although Texas is notorious for having some of the hottest summers in the country, extreme weather can wreak havoc in the winter, too. The combination of cold temperatures and unpredictable precipitation can create dangerous driving conditions for motorists on Texas highways in the wintertime. Here are some tips on protecting yourself and your vehicle this season.

Why Does This Season Present Dangers on the Roads?

Winter weather can create driving hazards like low visibility, high winds, and sudden temperature fluctuations. The following data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the Texas Department of Insurance illustrate how dangerous this weather can be:

  • On average, more than one in five motor vehicle crashes in the United States are weather-related.
  • Roughly 5,000 Americans die, and more than 400,000 suffer injuries in weather-related car accidents nationwide every year.
  • In Texas, inclement weather contributes to more than 10 percent of reported crashes statewide.

What to Look Out For

If you’re commuting to work, visiting loved ones for the holidays, or going on a road-trip vacation this winter, keep the following safe driving tips in mind:

  • Check road and weather conditions in advance – Before you leave, check the weather and traffic reports to know what to expect. You might want to avoid specific routes due to bad weather or congestion.
  • Slow down and turn off the cruise control – You need more time to slow down and stop in bad weather conditions, so decrease your speed and avoid relying on cruise control. You will likely need to make frequent adjustments.
  • Watch out for snow plows and other vehicles – Be sure to give plows and other snow removal vehicles at least 200 feet of space. Watch your blind spots in case other vehicles are nearby.
  • Drive defensively and signal your turns early – Too many drivers do not adjust their speed or driving habits to account for bad weather. Drive defensively to compensate. Signal your turns early to let other drivers know what you are doing.
  • Avoid braking too hard or turning too sharply – Hard braking and sharp turns can result in loss of traction on icy roads. Maneuver slowly and deliberately.
  • Pull over if visibility is poor and you can’t see – When heavy precipitation, intense glare, or other conditions reduce your visibility, pull over and wait for safer weather before you proceed. Activate your hazard lights and place flares or reflectors near your vehicle so other motorists can see you.
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition – Winter weather wears down rubber seals, fluid levels, battery charges, and more. Ensure your brakes, fluids, lights, and other equipment are in good shape before hitting the road.

Remember to Keep These Items in Your Vehicle

You can prepare yourself for possible emergencies on the road this winter by keeping the following in your vehicle:

  • A spare tire, car jack, and wheel wrench
  • Jumper cables and a basic toolkit
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • A car charger for your cell phone
  • A complete first-aid kit
  • Nonperishable food and drinking water
  • A snow shovel, scraper, and brush
  • Warm clothing and blankets
  • Cat litter for traction

If an Accident Happens, Remember To…

If you get hurt in a Texas car accident this winter, remember to take the following steps to protect yourself and your legal rights:

  • Seek prompt medical attention and follow your doctor’s orders
  • Ask for the other driver’s contact and insurance information
  • Take photos of the crash scene and ask witnesses for their names and contact info
  • Keep medical bills and other crash-related documentation
  • Watch what you say to others or post online while your case is pending
  • Contact a knowledgeable El Paso car accident lawyer for legal advice

Why Legal Representation Matters

The best way to pursue the financial relief you deserve in the aftermath of a car accident is with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC to learn about your legal options during a free case review.

Michael J. Gopin

Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. It was two weeks after receiving his license, when he represented a person whose life had been forever changed after being blinded in a work-related incident...

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