The winter months bring undesirable driving conditions from snow on the road to ice build up causing icy road conditions. Driving in the snow and driving on ice are two totally different experiences and knowing how to safely drive in both can prevent you from damaging your car or injuring yourself. Today, we are going to look at 5 things to remember when driving in icy conditions.
You have heard it a million times from the weatherman in the winter, but it is some of the best advice you can get when roads get icy. Taking your time and driving slower is one of the best ways to stay safe in these conditions. Allowing yourself enough time to leave early and drive well under the speed limit is a surefire way to reduce the risk of accidents. Even in the event that you do skid or lose control, damage will be minimal when driving slow when compared to traveling at higher speeds.
Brakes on your vehicle are designed to provide safety and keep you from getting into accidents. In icy conditions, they can actually make things worse if not used correctly. When approaching ice on the road, you will want to avoid using the brakes unless absolutely necessary. Using your brakes too quickly or too harshly can cause the tires to lock up and send you into a skid. If you must use the brakes, slowly depress your brake pedal in intervals to slow your vehicle down in a controlled manner.
In icy conditions, skidding is a very possible occurrence as the slick surface usually provides zero traction for your vehicle. A skid is when you lose control of your vehicle, usually on ice. To take control of your vehicle in a skid, you will want to avoid over-correcting. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make, causing more damage than necessary. What you will want to do is turn into the skid slightly and pump the brakes a little to regain traction. Once you have gotten traction and start to straighten out, slowly turn your steering wheel back in the right direction to turn out of the skid.
Paying attention to changing outdoor temperatures can keep you up to date on changing road conditions. If your vehicle is equipped with an outdoor temperature display, use this to determine when you may be approaching areas that could have ice on the road. Alternatively, keep an eye on what the temperatures will be doing before you leave so that you can plan ahead.
While snow tires and chains help to increase traction when there is snow on the ground, they provide very little help in icy road conditions. Snow tires and chains are made to help dig through thick snow and help your tires get traction to move forward through the snow. On ice, the slick surface will not allow snow tires or chains to gain traction. However, they certainly won’t hurt if you already have them on there.