Slip 'N' Slide: How To Drive In Snow And Ice Without Getting Stuck
Icy cold weather is annoying for lots of reasons, but when the ice and snow cover roadways and bridges the situation becomes dangerous. The best course of action is to avoid ice and snow at all costs, but sometimes it's impossible to stay away from the streets when things get too cold. Thankfully, there are a few tips you can keep in mind that will keep you safely on the road and out of the ditch.
Buy Snow Tires
You should plan for the wintry weather by purchasing some snow tires especially for the winter season. These tires are specially designed with grooves that grip icy surfaces better than regular tires. Snow tires are generally a bit more expensive than other tires, so you should change them out for winter so they don't wear out prematurely. Save the all-terrain tires for the warmer months.
Drive Slowly and Brake Even More Slowly
It's tempting to drive the speed limit in icy weather, but that's a bad idea. If you hit an icy patch at a fast speed, the velocity will send your car sliding across the road. Instead, drive about ten miles under the speed limit (or more, if conditions are particularly rough). This way, you won't slide as much, and you can stop the vehicle more quickly if necessary. You should never slam on the brakes while you're driving the ice, either. This causes your tires to lock up, which will send you skidding across the ice very quickly.
When you're driving on ice it's best to maintain a slow, steady pace, only stopping when absolutely necessary.
Don't Stop Before a Hill
If conditions are particularly icy and frightening, stopping at the bottom of a hill may be your first instinct. This is always a bad idea. Hilly roads are often the most difficult to navigate in a snowstorm. The key is to gain a bit of momentum before you start climbing the hill, so you can coast up easily without having to accelerate much. The basic idea is to roll up the hill as much as possible without braking or hitting the gas pedal.
Stay Away from Other Cars
In dry conditions, the general rule of thumb is to stay at least two seconds behind other cars. In icy conditions you should double this number. It takes much longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement, and there's always the possibility that you could lose control of the vehicle and slide across the street. If possible, stay far away from other cars on the road.
As always, it's a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car when you're driving in wintry weather. You might include a de-icer, some sand for traction when you get stuck, and some warm blankets. If you slide off the road and can't get traction, call an emergency towing service such as Superior Towing and stay in your vehicle until they arrive.