Icy roads can make for some treacherous travel conditions. It’s difficult to steer, stop, turn, accelerate… basically everything is harder! What’s worse, sometimes it’s hard to see the ice on the road, leading drivers to believe conditions are safer than they think. Here are some travel tips when the weather turns icy.
- Most important tip: Don’t drive! If you can avoid driving when roads are icy, do so. You can’t get into an accident if you’re on the road, right? When bad weather strikes, use caution when venturing out and, if your trip can wait, then let it wait.
- If you must drive, slow down. Driving at higher rates of speed almost always increases the likelihood you could get into an accident. This is especially important because on an icy road, you will need more time to stop and, in fact, applying the brakes on an icy road can lead to fishtailing or sliding, both of which are extremely dangerous. If you feel your car slip, slow down more.
- Do not slam on the brakes. Apply the brakes slowly to avoid sliding or spinning out. If your car begins to slide or spin, steering will not help you. You’ll just keep going until they gain traction. Avoid sliding as much as possible.
- Correcting your slide. If you do start to slide, the best course of action to reduce your speed (but don’t slam those brakes!), then turn your wheel in the direction the rear of the car is sliding. Be careful though, you can easily overcorrect and cause the car to slide the other way. Stay calm as you try to regain control as frantic steering will likely make things worse.
- Be very aware of your surroundings. If it’s dangerous for you, it’s dangerous for everyone else. There will likely be other accidents on the road – don’t be caught off guard. Remember, you’ll have less ability to stop and avoid crashing into others who are already stopped.
- Avoid hills and curvy roads. A flat, straight road is going to be safest when the road is icy. The more you need to turn, the easier it will be to slide. Similarly, gravity can work its magic on an icy road, so even your best efforts to control your vehicle may not be enough.
- Practice safe driving techniques. These tips are always in order, but they are especially important when weather conditions are unfavorable:
- Put the phone down.
- Keep the radio low.
- Ask passengers to lower their voices.
- Keep hands at 10 and 2 for better control.
- Always wear your seat belt.
Cold weather can sometimes set in fast. Don’t be fooled – if it’s usually time for cold weather where you are, ice can certainly form even if you don’t think it’s cold enough. Be careful out there!
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