AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – With another round of winter weather settling over the High Plains, AAA Texas released tips for driving safely during the severe conditions possible in the latter half of the week.

Traveling in winter conditions such as ice or snow can be challenging, said AAA Texas. During wintry conditions, the organization encouraged drivers to stay tuned to weather forecasts before driving in rural areas or taking longer trips. Drivers should also consider delaying their trips when expecting bad weather, and otherwise communicate with others about their expected route, destination, and travel times.

AAA Texas offered tips for preparing vehicles for bad weather, including:

  • Clean the inside and outside of your windshield at least once a week
  • Make sure your car’s windshield and rear-window defrosters are in good working condition
  • Keep your windshield wiper blades fresh – many drivers change them every six months
  • Clear all snow and ice from the vehicle’s windows, roof, hood, trunk lid, and other covered areas to reduce risk and increase visibility
  • Use an ice scraper to remove snow and ice from your windshield and all windows, including side and rear windows, to improve visibility

AAA Texas continued to note its reminders, written alongside Discount Tire, about the importance of well-maintained tires:

  • Inflate your tires to the correct pressure, and check presssure often
  • Check the tread depth of your tires
  • Rotate your tires regularly
  • Check the tread pattern of your tires
  • Know the age of your tires
  • Check your trunk to see which otpion your vehicle has for tire emergencies – either a tire-inflation kit or a spare tire
  • Don’t overload your vehicle with weight past its recommended rating

AAA Texas tips for navigating the road in winter weather:

  • Make sure your headlights are on
  • Reduce your speed and leave plenty of room to stop
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding
  • Do not use cruise control on any wet, snow-covered, or icy roads
  • Be aware of possible icy roads, and practice extra caution on bridges and overpasses
  • Be careful on infrequently traveled roads, which may not be cleared as foten as other roads

AAA Texas tips on leaving the roadway:

  • If you must pull off the road, wait for a safe opportunity and pull off the road as far as you can
  • It is best to pull into a rest area or parking lot, rather than to the road’s shoulder

AAA Texas tips on when to brake, and when to steer:

  • When traveling more than 25 mph, AAA Texas recommends steering over braking to avoid a collision in winter-like conditions, as less distance is required to steer around an object than to brake to a stop. In slick conditions, sudden braking can lead to loss of vehicle control
  • Braking on slippery surfaces requires you to look further ahead and increase following and stopping distances. Plan stopping distances as early as possible and always look 20-30 seconds ahead of your vehicle to ensure you have time and space to stop safely

AAA Texas on staying in control through a skid:

  • When a vehicle begins to skid, it’s important not to panic, and follow these basic steps:
    • Continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go
    • Avoid slamming on the brakes, as this will further impact the vehicle’s balance and make itmore difficult to control

Additional winter driving safety tips from AAA Texas:

  • Use your seatbelt every time you get into a vehicle
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage. In fact, modern vehicles do not require idle time prior to driving
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice, or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid a gas line freeze-up

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