Odessa receives minimal snowfall each year. However, the area is capable of experiencing colder temperatures that could have an affect on your car and on the roads we drive on. If you plan on being on the road this winter, read our winter driving tips to keep your car and yourself safe as temperatures fluctuate.
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Before You Go
Wintertime is not necessarily the best time to hop in your car and hit the open road without any preparation. Here are some things that you should do to get ready for your trip:
- Plan the details of your trip carefully, paying attention to the weather forecasts and road conditions. This information is regularly provided by local television and newspapers, as well as on the state Department of Transportation’s website. If you are traveling out of the region, be aware that the weather may be dramatically different when you get there. You should pay attention to the weather forecasts along your route, as well.
- The City of Odessa notes that you should always let someone know if you’re headed out on a trip during the winter months. You should include information about the route you are taking and when you are expected to arrive.
- Make sure your windows are completely defrosted and that everyone is buckled up before you go.
In Your Car
Traveling in the winter storms poses a potential risk of being stuck on the roadside or off the road until help arrives. It is important to be prepared for this occurrence by packing a travel kit. This kit should include:
- A basic car care kit with jumper cables, flares, and a tire jack.
- A first aid kit.
- A pocket knife.
- An extra change of clothing, including additional socks, mittens, and a wool hat.
- Blankets or sleeping bags.
- Bottled water and nonperishable snacks.
- Information you would need in the event of an accident, including a copy of your registration, as well as the name and contact information of your insurance representative and your auto insurance policy number.
Under the Hood
Cold temperatures can have a serious impact on how your car runs and operates. When the line on the thermometer starts to drop, it’s time for you to have your car looked over by a mechanic to ensure that everything is in proper order. The areas of the vehicle that need to be checked include:
- Oil. If it is time for your oil to be changed, inquire about a winter blend that will help your car run better in cold temperatures.
- Windshield wipers and wiper fluid. There is a winter windshield wiper fluid that does not freeze in cold temperatures.
- Heater and defroster.
- Brakes and brake fluid.
You should also check your tires to make sure that they have a good tread for the winter months and replace them if they are worn. It is important to remember that your tires lose air pressure in colder temperatures and you need to check your air pressure regularly to ensure that your tires keep the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure.
On the Road
If you’re on the roadways when it is raining, snowing, or icy, the Texas Department of Transportation offers the following tips:
- Slow down. The speed limits on Odessa roadways are based on normal roads and weather conditions, not winter weather conditions.
- Maintain at least three times the following distance as you normally do between your car and the car in front of you. Wet or icy road conditions increase the amount of distance that your car needs to come to a safe stop after you have perceived a danger, such as the vehicle in front of you suddenly stopping or slowing down.
- Be cautious about bridges and overpasses, as those are normally the first part of the roadway to freeze.
- If your vehicle starts to slide, do not panic. Instead, ease of the brakes and steer in the direction of the skid until you’re able to regain traction and carefully straighten out your vehicle.
Attorney Robert White is Here to Help
It is wise to be prepared when starting on a winter road trip. However, your own preparation will not help avoid a car accident caused by someone else’s careless or reckless behavior or their failure to prepare. If you’ve been injured in an accident, Attorney Robert White can provide you with guidance about your legal options for recovering compensation. For a case review, contact Attorney White online or by calling (432) 580-5421.