The Cold Facts About Winter Driving

Inspecting Tire Tread Uisng a Penny

If you see the space above Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.

Some might say Texans have never experienced a real winter. They’re probably right, at least by their standards. Still, sleet, freezing rain, ice and snow can make driving a slippery proposition. Here are a few things everyone can do to reduce the chance of having an accident.

Before you drive
A little preparation can go a long way toward preventing driving accidents this winter:
• Check tire depth. Replace tires when tread depth is less than 1/16 of an inch or the wear bars show. Insert a penny into the tread head first. If you see the space above Lincoln’s head, it is time for new tires.
• Inspect windshield wipers. If they feel stiff, or if they chip or leave streaks, replace the rubber.
• Be prepared. Put windshield scrapers, small brooms for ice and snow removal, and kitty litter in your vehicle. If you get stuck, spread the litter in front of and behind your wheels for traction.
• Fill the windshield washer reservoirs. Use washer fluid that includes ammonia for cutting grease and detergents that reduce the possibility of freezing.
• Plan your trip. Avoid bridges, overpasses and places where water crosses pavement. They are usually the first places to freeze. Plan to slow down, leave early or reschedule appointments.
• Buckle up. Make sure everyone wears their seat belt and that child safety seats are installed properly.
• Do not drink and drive. Most of us know this, but it’s worth repeating: Alcohol can impair your judgment, vision and reaction speed.
• Know what you’re getting into. Call the Texas Department of Transportation at (800) 452-9292, or visit to check weather and driving conditions. Visit the National Weather Service at for nationwide weather.

During your drive
Stay home during hazardous conditions if possible. If you have to leave the house:
• Eliminate distractions. Turn off the radio, cell phone and other distractions. Ask your children to be quiet so you can concentrate on the road.
• Pay attention. Slow down, and pay attention to the way your tires grip the road. This gives you an early warning about slippery surfaces. Watch for standing water and shiny layers of slippery ice. Use the emergency lights 
   if you are driving slower than other traffic.
• Keep a safe following distance. On slick roads, keep at least five seconds between you and the car in front of you.
• Master the fish tail. Fish tailing happens when your car’s rear end slips from side to side. Slow down until you feel all four tires grip the road. Resist the temptation to brake. If you brake, do it gently. If you have anti-lock  
   brakes, apply gentle, steady pressure.
• Steer clear of skids. If you’re in a skid, don’t panic. Remove your foot from the accelerator, take a deep breath and turn the steering wheel in the direction the car is sliding. This technique is especially important on sheet 
   ice, which forms when water sheets across a thin slope, such as an embankment.
• Use the shoulder. The rough surface may give better traction.

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Workplace Safety is Always in Season

portrait of a female pharmacist at pharmacyThe holiday season can be one of the most prosperous times of year for many businesses, and increased activity in the workplace often means hiring temporary, seasonal employees. While this added workforce is an invaluable asset during such a busy time, it is important for companies to implement and enforce holiday-safety measures, as well as educate temporary employees about workplace hazards and their safeguards.

Temporary Employees Are New Employees

  • Even though time with the company may be brief, seasonal workers should receive the same level of training that new employees receive when they first start the job.
  • Start training the first day on the job to develop safe work behaviors in temporary employees. The more they know about proper equipment and procedures, the safer they will be.
  • Provide a clear and concise safety policy to temporary employees. They should know that doing the job safely is just as important as doing it correctly.
  • Ensure that temporary employees are comfortable with their managers and supervisors. They should always feel that they can approach management, no matter what question they may have.

Whether at work or at home, the holiday season provides increased opportunities for accidents and injuries. Employers should protect one of their greatest assets, their employees, by educating them about special holiday hazards. The following precautions will help businesses of all types keep regular and seasonal employees out of harm’s way during the holidays.

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Video: The Compensable Claim

Workers’ compensation insurance replaces a portion of injured workers’ lost wages. It also provides important legal protection for employers. Watch this short video for an overview of the benefits of workers’ compensation coverage.

Is That Claim Compensable?

Under Texas law, an injury may not be compensable even if it happened in the course and scope of employment. If a claim is denied, the insurance carrier files a notice of dispute with the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation. In this short video, you will learn under what circumstances an insurance carrier may deny a claim and what may happen next.

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