Think ahead and drive safely on icy roads: Tips for safe driving, preparing to be on roadways in freezing conditions

If streets ice and you have to drive, we have tips for staying safe on the road, and some things you should keep in your car
January 28, 2014 7:23:27 AM PST
Houston drivers have not fully recovered from the last ice storm, and now it looks like another one is putting southeast Texas in the crosshairs.

If the roads ice up Tuesday morning and you have to go outside, there are some things you can do on the road to stay safe -- and some things that you really need to keep in your car.

Houston driver Larry Hampton is one of the lucky drivers who did not have to brave the icy roads last week.

"I am glad they gave us off that day," Hampton said.

Hampton is on standby and admits his icy road driving skills are limited.

"Drive slow," he said with a laugh.

Even if you go slowly, the driver behind you can cause problems. Still, experts say to stay far behind the car ahead of you and keep your eyes on the other cars.

"Watch the car in front of you; if they start slipping around, you know you are going to hit some ice, so let off the gas and slow down," Mike Poutous with Poutous Automotive said.

He adds that if you start to skid, take your foot off the gas pedal and steer in the direction of the skid and your car should recover. And whatever you do, stay off of the brake pedal.

"Because then you lose complete control of the car," Poutous said.

Many drivers will hit the road, regardless of the warnings, and some will likely get stranded. So the question becomes: what should drivers bring with them on cold weather commutes?

"I was counting on y'all to list that for me," driver Adriana Sanchez said.

Here's what AAA Texas says to bring: Ice scraper, cloth or paper towels, a blanket, cell phone and its car charger and jumper cables.

"If you have a battery that is more than three to five years, you might want to think about getting that replaced because it may not withstand this very, very cold weather," Sarah Schimmer with AAA Texas said.

If you have to go out on Tuesday and you get into an accident, remember you do have the right to have your car towed anywhere you want it to go. So take a couple of minutes and think of where you would have your car towed if you were in an accident. It's best to do that now before you have to decide on the road.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

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