Monday, January 15, 2007

Houston Ice Storm Advice

It's wet and the temperature is dropping. Currently 36 degrees, only four more makes mayhem in a town without salt trucks or drivers who know what to do in these kinds of conditions. With that in mind here's a link to some driving advice. Here's the high points:

Make sure that you keep your tires properly inflated.

• Gently tap your brakes if you do not have anti-lock brakes to avoid locking the wheels and skidding. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply light, constant pressure until you slow down.

• Keep an emergency driving kit in your vehicle that includes a small bag of abrasive material such as sand, kitty litter or salt, small shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, cloth or paper towels, jumper cables, a blanket and warning devices.

• Always carry a cellular phone in the event of a driving emergency.

• To keep traction, apply gentle pressure on the accelerator pedal when starting. If your wheels do start to spin, do not apply your brakes. Let up on the accelerator until traction returns.

Controlling a car means a foot on the gas. If you spin out, turn into the direction of the spin (your instinct is to turn the other way), let the wheels catch and then straighten out the car. And yes, I've had to do this on black ice in Michigan as a driving novice.

But the most important advice in a city ill-equipped to deal with this kind of weather? Stay home. Make sure the house is stocked and don't go anywhere. Play cards with the family. Start a fire. Read. Relax.

Oh! And yoo hoo! Turn off your sprinkler system or getting out of your driveway won't be an option anyway.