My husband drove to work this past Saturday when he hit some black ice. He did a 360 on the Garden State Parkway and he was shaken. There was no accident, thank God, but it was scary for him. The roads are going to get icy today into tonight so I thought it would be smart to share some tips for driving in icy conditions.
Of course the best scenario is staying home altogether. Sometimes that is not possible, as a matter of fact, I’m writing this from the radio station right now. If you have to be out, here are tips of how to drive in icy conditions.
The most important thing to do if you have to drive is to slow your roll. You have to reduce your speed to have any shot at gaining control if you slip.
Don’t pass! This may be a big sticking point here in Jersey…you are just going to have to slow down and not create danger by passing others. No doubt someone will be unable to handle that and they will zoom past you, when that happens drive in the shoulder to get away from them. Being proactive is great defensive driving.
The other most important thing is to have properly inflated your winter tires. In addition to that, they have to have good tread. Bald tires need not apply.
This is one that I’ve never thought of, pros recommend carrying tire chains in case you need to add them to your tires. I have to admit, I don’t have those but they sound like a great idea to have in the trunk.
Don’t have a false sense of security just because you sprang for all-wheel drive. All wheel drive is more about snow than ice. When you do have to stop, apply brakes super-slowly. This means you’ll have to stay more than 10 car lengths away from the vehicle in front of you, so you have time to do just that.
Be extra careful on bridges, overpasses and ramps. They’re the first to freeze so literally crawl on those even if it makes people mad.
Never ever use cruise control with icy conditions. Your wheels will turn at different speeds and make you spin out.
If you have to drive downhill in slippery conditions and you have anti lock brakes, use light and steady pressure on the brake pedal to stay at the right speed. If you don’t have antilock brakes, start slowly and keep lightly pumping the brakes yourself.
If your vehicle suddenly feels like it’s not getting traction, take your foot off the gas right away and turn into the spin. This goes against human nature but you will gain control faster.
Take your time and be safe!
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