Sunday, January 26, 2014

When it Freezes in Houston...

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It is very rare for Houston to have a Winter Storm involving icy roads. Now I am no meteorologist or an expert in driving on ice, but as a delivery driver who spends a lot of time on the Houston roads and highways, I'd like to share a few things that I have learned to do when Houston experiences a Winter storm.

Because of how rare Houston experiences these ice-cold conditions, many commuters in this city will tend to underestimate Mother Nature. Let's face it Houston, we don't know how to drive on ice. I'm a very experienced courier in Houston, and I'm first to admit, I suck at driving on ice! Northerners can laugh all they want. Just brush it off and think of your survival (or the safety of your pocketbook)! So, in this blog entry, when I say Winter Storm, I'm not talking about blizzards or an avalanche. I'm talking about ice on freeways, which I'm sure is normal to many folks up north.

Recently, on January 24th, the Houston highways experienced some icy freeways, causing over 200 accidents. This is unfortunate to many commuters in the city, but consider the fact that no casualties were reported. Unlike the Winter Storm of February 2011, there were over 800 accidents, including at least one reported casualty. Remember that day?

If You Do Not Have To Go Anywhere, DON'T!
Is your destination that important? Work? School? Friends want to have a few beers? That's up to your judgement. My only advice is that you think twice and ask yourself if the priority of your trip is all that important. There will already be a large amount of folks who don't really have much of a choice but to go to work or school, and they are the ones getting stuck in some traffic. I'm sure over 98% of them are wishing that they had stayed home. So please, if you don't really have to go anywhere, don't contribute to making traffic more stressful.

Keep up with Local News.
Weather Alerts are normally posted by your designated counties. Ever heard of AM Radio? I know, totally ancient, right? Delivery drivers like myself however, benefit from listening to stations like 740am KTRH, Houston News, Weather and Traffic Station. Constant traffic reports every 10 minutes could give you an edge against traffic in reaching your destination. As far as Winter Storms are concerned, these guys at KTRH can give you a heads up on where iced-up portions of most freeways are located.

Avoid the Freeways! 
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Now I know that this may be a bit impossible to many of you. But in my experience, there's always another way to get to almost any destination without getting on the freeway. I may not like it, due to the timely nature of my deliveries, but the clients will understand.. I mean, they better! So if you know of any detours where you can avoid freeways, choose that! Don't be jealous of those ballsy people who gets on the freeway anyway. Your chances of getting involved in any accidents will be much lower.

Maintain a Larger Distance from Cars in Front of You.
This may be a bit difficult, because everyone's already in a rush. Also, there will be times were the driver behind you will get too close behind you while you are maintaining a safe distance from the car in front of you. But if you look around you, you will notice that many other drivers around you are keeping their distance from other cars.

Don't let the car behind you manipulate you when they're tailgaiting you. Think of it this way, if they happen to slip and hit you, it's their fault, not yours. And if the same situation happens, and you happen to be close to the car in front of you, and you hit them, you will be at fault regardless of the fact that it was the person behind you that caused you to hit the car in front of you.

This blog entry probably suck just as bad as Houstonians driving on ice. lol But I hope these little I-already-knew-that advices help. There will be another one of these icy Winter Storms coming up on Tuesday morning, January 28. Please be prepared.

If you have any other advices that you'd like me to add to this entry, please leave me a comment! Be safe!

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