Texas Tips for Driving on Icy Roads
Even though Texas winters can be relatively mild, it only takes one cold blast to change the game entirely. Temperatures plummet, roads form ice and drivers become vulnerable in an instant. We all believe the worst will never happen to us, but with over 3,000 miles of highway alone in Texas, the risk is high.
For over 100 drivers near Fort Worth, the worst happened on February 11th before the sun had even risen. A mere week before, Fort Worth reached 70 degrees, but that didn’t stop Winter Storm Shirley from blowing in. A massive 100 car pile-up occurred due to icy conditions on I-35, leaving 18 wheelers overturned and many cars and trucks smashed together.
Several hours after the incident, rescue personnel were still searching the 1.5 mile stretch of vehicles for surviving victims. With at least five dead and dozens more wounded, firefighters worried people trapped in their vehicles would be affected by the 27-degree weather. This mass casualty event – as stated by authorities – is a grim and harsh reminder that road safety really can mean the difference between life and death.
How to Prepare for Icy Roads
While the incident in Fort Worth does not have an official cause, the sleet dumped by Winter Storm Shirley overnight most certainly had an effect. Driving on icy roads is extremely hazardous, and while accidents can’t be avoided sometimes, safe driving practices could make all the difference.
So what are some things you can do ahead of time to prepare for dangerous road conditions?
Look At The Forecast
The number one way to avoid dangerous road conditions is to avoid the roads altogether. If you can stay off the roads when they’re dangerous, plan to do so. Stay aware of the weather forecast in your area and plan accordingly.
Pack A Supply Kit
Being cautious might just save your life. Prepare for the worst-case scenario and travel with a supply kit. During a winter emergency, items such as blankets, hats, gloves and water could make a huge difference to have on hand.
Give Yourself Time
Make sure you have ample time before driving somewhere. If you’re rushing to reach your destination, you’re much more likely to be distracted and not use safe driving techniques – not to mention your speed will probably be higher.
Best Safe Driving Practices
If you do intend to drive somewhere on icy roads, there are several things you can do to ensure the safest trip possible. It is always better to be safe than sorry and to be prepared for an emergency.
Wear Your Seatbelt
You cannot control what other drivers do – especially in dangerous road conditions – but seat belts are meant to save your life. Make sure yours are functional and buckled.
Give Yourself Ample Space
Braking times greatly increase when ice is involved so make sure the space between you and other vehicles is larger. This might just give you enough time to see ice on the road, see an accident in front of you, or slow down before hitting another vehicle. In fact, it’s best to keep your speed slower than usual, even if this means you’re driving below the speed limit.
Don’t Use Cruise Control
While modern technology in vehicles is useful, cruise control and other automated functions cannot recognize ice or other obstacles ahead. Be aware of your surroundings and turn off your cruise control.
If You Hit Ice – Don’t Panic
The natural response to losing control of our vehicles is to slam on the brakes, but this can actually cause your car to slide more dangerously when your anti-lock braking system (ABS) locks up your wheels. The best course of action is to steer into the direction of the slide as safely as you can manage, even if this means steering your car off the road or into a barrier.
Have You Been In An Accident?
The winter storm has caused many roads across Texas to become icy and therefore several vehicle accidents. If you were involved in the Fort Worth incident, or any other vehicle accident, contact Cesar Ornelas today. We fight for victims’ rights and make this difficult time for you as easy as we can.
Originally from Kyle, Texas, Mr. Ornelas is a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation attorney.
Licensed in Texas, Cesar Ornelas’s nationwide practice is entirely contingency fee-based and consists of a wide variety of catastrophic personal injury and death cases. He has represented countless victims of catastrophic accidents across the United States.