I swear, wasn't I just writing about how winter didn't appear to be coming to Amarillo?

January 26, 2022...the day it seemingly arrived.

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We kept hearing the snow would be here today, and there were varying reports as to what it was going to be. So much so that Amarillo ISD sent out a message saying if you didn't feel safe driving in the conditions, everything would be excused for the kids. If they were late, it would be excused. Absent for the day? Yup, excused as well.

There are some things you should be paying attention to when it comes to driving now that winter has arrived in the Panhandle. As Rich H., a Facebook friend of ours stated in a message to us, "If the trip isn't worth the auto insurance deductible they should stay home". I'd say that's a pretty solid way of putting it.

Let's take a look at a few things you should take into account when deciding whether or not to drive in weather.

ARE YOUR TIRES UP TO PAR?

This is one of the biggest things to be honest. You don't HAVE to have front wheel or all wheel drive to get around in the snow, you need good tires with solid tread. The tread will help kick the snow through the tires allowing you the grip needed to navigate some snow.

If your tires are balding or don't have enough tread, you're gonna be driving a slip n slide. So how can you be sure you have enough tread? Grab a penny and stick it in a groove of your tire with Lincoln's head facing you. If you can see all of his head, you don't have enough tread and need to think about replacing your tires.

BE CAUTIOUS, BUT NOT TOO CAUTIOUS

When snow is on the ground, yes it can be a bit slick. However, there is a difference between being cautious and unsafe. You don't want to drive the speed limit on snow packed roads, but you also don't want to be driving 10 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. You're bound to cause some issues or accidents by doing that.

If you feel your car can't go at least 60-70% of the speed limit, you probably shouldn't be out on the roads for your safety and those around you.

SLIDING? TURN INTO THE SLIDE, NOT AWAY FROM IT

Pretty self explanatory right? I know the natural reaction is to whip the wheel the opposite way you're sliding, you're trying to straighten it out. Unfortunately, this is what will send your car into a tailspin and you'll start doing donuts.

If you slowly turn your wheel in the same direction you're sliding, you'll find the car will stabilize and you can regain control of the car.

NO HARD BRAKING

This one would seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised. Hard braking on snow packed or slick roads will simply send you sliding.

Slowly apply the brakes from a further distance than you'd normally apply them. This allows you to come to a nice easy stop that your tires can handle. Now, there's still the chance you could slide a bit doing that. If you encounter that, let off the brake and start slowly tapping the brake. This gives the tires time to catch the ground and begin the eventual stop.

That's it! Pretty easy right? Let's stay away from accidents and silly driving. Be safe out there!

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