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Wintertime in Texas can bring a range of weather incidents from beautiful sun to rain and ice. Drivers need to be prepared for any possible road conditions. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death in the United States. Here are some simple tips to help keep you, your family and others safe during this time of year.

  • Plan ahead – have your car serviced and pack an emergency kit
  • Prepare – plan your route in advance and make sure you get enough rest
  • Stay focused – avoid distractions such as cell phones and make frequent stops
  • Be aware – speed limits and road conditions can change, so pay careful attention

With the promise of a wet winter and spring, remember that driving conditions on wet roads can be dangerous. We all (hopefully) know the saying, “turn around, don’t drown,” but here are other safety tips for driving in the rain:

  • Replace your windshield wipers regularly
  • Maintain proper following distance (3 second rule) at all times, but increase following distance in wet weather
  • Drive in the middle lane—water tends to pool in outside lanes
  • Avoid using your brakes if possible and instead take your foot off the accelerator to slow down gradually
  • Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground through it

If you find yourself hydroplaning or skidding, remember:

  1. Do not brake or turn suddenly
  2. Ease foot off the gas until the vehicle slows and you regain traction
  3. Turn steering wheel in the direction of the skid; once you have recovered, straighten out the wheel

Following these simple steps can help you adjust to the ever-changing Texas weather.

Lydia Blankenship, Trauma Director
South Austin Medical Center

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