Top 10 Tips for Safe Winter Driving in Austin

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We may live in one of the warmest states, but these polar cold fronts don’t always realize that. In fact, it is easier to forget to prep for winter weather when it is less frequent. This means that when bad weather does arrive, Austinites often panic and either don’t leave the house or drive dangerously when they do. Thankfully, there is a happy medium. These 10 tips will ensure that you can stay busy and safe during the holidays and the (wonderfully short) winter to follow!

1. Get a vehicle tune-up now
Check the entire vehicle for leaks, worn hoses, and other repairs or replacements.

2. Replace your windshield wipers
Worn down windshield wiper blades can mean poor visibility, blind spots, and blurry windshields. This is a cheap and easy fix!

3. Make sure tires are road-ready
While you probably won’t need snow tires for Austin winter driving, having tires with good tread can mean the difference between a second of sliding and a dangerous collision. Double-check how inflated your tires are: cold weather causes a decrease in tire pressure. If you ask, most auto shops will check your tread and rotate your tires for free during a tune-up. If you do need new tires, you can go to www.safercar.gov to compare safety ratings.

4. All of the lights
If your headlights are dim or out it is hard to see through fog or sleet, especially at night. You can buy them cheaply at an auto parts store and ask for help installing them if necessary, or ask for the parts and service during a tune-up.

5. Fill your windshield washer reservoir
Use “no-freeze” fluid and buy extra. This is not just for dirty windshields – if a storm hits and there is sleet or snow, this fluid is essential to keeping your windshield clear.

6. Check your battery
Cold weather actually puts more of a strain on your battery. It takes more voltage to start your vehicle in cold weather.

7. Keep these things handy:
An ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, blankets, and a cell phone charger.

8. Pulled over? Move away from the road
The side of the road can be very dangerous. If you are in an accident or need to pull over for a flat tire or in a storm, go as far away from the road as you can. Staying near the road can be very dangerous, especially when 18-wheelers and large trucks that take time to slow down are on the roads.

9. Plan your trips ahead of time
We’ve talked a lot about the danger of using handheld devices while driving. Similar to texting, setting or reading your GPS takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. It’s extraordinarily dangerous.
To prevent this, make sure you know your route ahead of time. Also, check the weather forecast to make sure driving conditions are safe before making unnecessary trips. You can check winter weather updates and advisories here.

10. Know your car
If you’ve recently gotten a new car, take some time to get familiar with it before driving in unsafe conditions. Things like braking speed, maneuverability, blind spots, and skidding vary drastically from car to car.

If you do get in an accident, call us to find out how to proceed and what to do next. We’ll review your case details and give you a free consultation to help you decide if legal action is necessary and if so, which avenues will be best.