Parts of Texas that received sleet, snow and freezing rain earlier this week began to partially thaw today. The sunshine and high temperatures topping out just above freezing could cause some drivers to have a false sense of security that the roadways are now safer to drive on. However, once the sun sets and temperatures dip below freezing again, roadways with melted snow and ice will refreeze. Streets that may have been easily passable for a few hours will become hotbeds for black ice. AAA Texas recommends drivers in areas impacted by the winter weather to stay tuned to local meteorological forecasts and wait to drive again until road conditions further improve.
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When the temperatures reach the freezing point, black ice can form on all kinds of surfaces, including highways, bridges and overpasses. The transparent frozen moisture glazes and blends in with surfaces, making it difficult to see and very slippery. It is important for drivers who need to be out to remain vigilant behind the wheel and drive at a speed that is safe based on their local roadway conditions.
“When temperatures climb just above freezing and snow melts, it can be tempting to think roadways are safe to travel on,” said AAA Texas spokesperson, Daniel Armbruster. “But driver beware, once daylight disappears and the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, any remaining moisture that had melted will refreeze. This scenario will set the stage for dangerous travel conditions, including black ice, in some areas.”
Stay in Control Through a Skid
- Even careful and experienced drivers can skid on slippery surfaces. 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 upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.
Additional Winter Driving Safety Tips from AAA Texas:
- Use your seatbelt every time you get in the 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 gas line freeze-up.
Additional information on driving in winter conditions can be found at How to Go on Ice and Snow.
About AAA: AAA provides more than 62.9 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of independently owned motor clubs and nearly 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the motorist and safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas.