One of the most dangerous road conditions you can experience when driving is icy roads. Icy road conditions make driving very difficult as it is hard for vehicles to gain traction on the slick surface. While it is best to avoid driving on ice if at all possible, we know that sometimes it is unavoidable. For those situations, we have put together 5 tips for driving in icy road conditions.
In order to plan ahead and keep yourself as safe as possible when you have to drive in icy conditions, plan ahead and drive slow. If you know that you have to go to work in the morning and it is supposed to be icy, get up a little earlier to allow more time to drive slower on the roads. Driving slower will greatly reduce the changes of accidents or skidding, and in the event of a skid, you will have more control over the vehicle at slower speeds.
Using your brakes on ice may seem like a great way to control a skid, but it can actually be more dangerous if you do not know how to use them properly. The brakes on your vehicle are made to slow your vehicle down by slowing the rotational speed of your wheels. Doing this too abruptly can cause your vehicle to skid out of control due to the wheels locking up and losing traction. Travel at a slow enough speed to allow your vehicle to slow down with friction and the weight of the car before having to use your brakes. When using your brakes, slowly pump them so that you do not lock up your brakes.
Skidding is one of the biggest dangers when driving in icy conditions. Skidding is when your vehicle loses traction and you lose control of your vehicle as it skids across the ice. While your first reaction may be to jerk the steering wheel back into position, this can cause more damage. What you will want to do is slowly steer into the skid while slowly applying brake pressure in increments to regain traction. Once you begin to regain traction, you can slowly steer yourself back into the direction you need to go.
Keeping an eye on changing outdoor temperatures will allow you to determine when and where you may encounter icy road conditions. You can check your local weather channel or an online weather site to see how the temperatures will be changing throughout the day before you leave. If you are on a road trip, utilize an outdoor temperature display (if equipped) to see when temperatures may drop without you knowing.
Snow tires are designed to provide traction when driving in thick, compacted snow. They provide little to no benefit when driving on ice. The slick surface of an icy road is resilient to most snow-centric tire accessories including studs and chains.