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How to Drive in Icy Conditions

on January 26, 2021
Desolate Road with snow and ice on the road.

How to Drive in Icy Conditions

on January 26, 2021

Luckily many American drivers, especially drivers who live in the north are used to driving in the winter.  We have become accustomed to handling winter terrain on the roads.  However, regardless of how good of a driver you may think you are, nobody is fully prepared to handle the dangers of a serious winter storm.  

Driving on ice is one of the most dangerous aspects of winter driving because if something was to go wrong, you need to act quickly, and safely to steer clear of a potential accident!  Let’s talk about driving safely on icy roads.  

Driving on Ice: Black Ice

Before we jump into the safety tips for driving on icy roads, it’s important to understand how the ice forms on the road.  Black ice is the most dangerous type of ice to form on the roads, which forms on roadways and asphalt due to re-freezing snow.  It is often called black ice because it is transparent, making it hard to spot.  

Unfortunately, due to the see-through nature of the black ice, it makes it very difficult to spot. The best way to avoid it is by understanding where ice can form on the roads.  Typically, black ice is most predictable at night or in the early mornings.  

This is most likely due to the temperature outside during these hours.  Always pay attention to the vehicles in front of you.  If you see them slipping and sliding, it may be because they hit a black ice patch.    

How to Drive on Slippery Icy Roads

One of the best driving on ice tips is to have winter tires on your vehicle.  Having special winter tires will provide much more control of your vehicle on icy roads, but also driving through snow in general.  We understand that winter tires are extremely pricy but in general, they are much cheaper than a trip to the mechanic shop.  

Another tip for driving on icy roads is to know how to handle your vehicle on ice.  Icy roads will have a heavy impact on your vehicle, so it’s best to understand how your vehicle will handle and react to ice.  This is very important, so when your vehicle does start to slip and slide due to the black ice, you know how to properly and safely handle your vehicle to avoid an accident.  

Lastly and most importantly, take your time on the road.  We understand that driving in dangerous road conditions can be stressful but it’s always best to avoid speeding, changing lanes, and driving too close to other vehicles during a winter storm.  

It takes much longer to come to a full and complete stop on icy and snowy roads.  Always make sure you are giving yourself extra space between cars so you can slow down and come to a full and complete stop.  

Sliding and Skidding

Driving on icy roads will affect your vehicle tires heavily, which is why if you hit a snow or ice patch, it’s best to do your absolute best to keep the vehicle going straight on the road and remain calm.  You can do this by steering your vehicle straight, taking your foot off the gas, and not hitting your brakes.  Always remember to reduce your speed and check your blind spots.  

If your vehicle is sliding and skidding out of control, give your brake pedal a light tap and pay attention to where you want your vehicle to go, and try to head in that direction.  Do your absolute best to stay calm throughout this process because if you begin to feel overwhelmed you could lose control of your vehicle, which could result in a major accident.  

You Can Do It!

Driving on icy roads is never a fun situation, and when possible, stay home.  However, if you do need to drive during a snowstorm, where there could be potential ice on the roadways.  It is very important to know how to properly handle your vehicle in the event that you hit an ice patch.

Driving in icy weather can be a very stressful experience, but having snow tires, and understanding the proper technique to avoid skidding and sliding will benefit you from causing an accident.  Following our DriveSmart driving tips will put you on the right track for success, and having an extended auto warranty will always give you peace of mind in the event that your vehicle malfunctions during a winter storm.  

Remember, stay home if you can but if you need to get behind the steering wheel, DriveSmart! 

Written By: Stephen Lubas

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