Winter Driving Tips: Driving on Ice

This winter has been brutal; from the bone-chilling temperatures and frequent snowstorms across the country, it’s safe to say we’re all excited for spring. With the frigid cold and heavy snow, however, there’s also an increased chance of icy roads, which can present a problem for inexperienced drivers or drivers who aren’t used to hazardous road conditions. Of course, the ideal way to drive on ice is to avoid driving on it completely, but sometimes the situation calls for it. Whether it be work, an emergency, or the kids’ school failing to close down, sometimes driving on ice is unavoidable.

If you’re forced to drive on icy roads, here are some defensive driving tips to help ensure the safety of yourself and those around you:

1. Slow Down

Reducing your speed is one of the most important ways you can increase your safety while driving on snow and ice. Stay well below the speed limit, even on the highway, as high speeds make it harder to stop and easier to lose control of your vehicle. More often than not, much slower speeds than usual are necessary to safely drive through snow, but keep in mind that driving as slow as even 10 mph can cause a vehicle to spin out on black ice.

Your speed isn’t the only thing you should think about slowing down. Accelerate and decelerate much slower and more carefully than usual, as you want to retain as much traction with the road as possible. Quick stops and pedal-to-the-metal starts will cause your tires to lose traction, and once your vehicle loses traction, you have no control over the car. If you need help slowing down, without using your brakes, try shifting your engine into a lower gear — the engine will help slow you down, reducing your need to hit the brakes as often.

2. Turn Into a Slide

If your vehicle is sliding or fishtailing in any way, you’re driving (or braking) too fast. If you start to completely lose traction and slide across the road, don’t panic. Turn your steering wheel in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding. Avoid overcorrecting and exacerbating the problem by making slow, steady movements instead of turning the wheel hastily.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to successfully correct a slide on ice, so driving slowly from the start is the best idea. Heavy braking is also a common cause of a vehicle sliding on ice, so avoid brake application as much as possible. Incredibly slow speeds will also help reduce your need to hit the brakes, effectively helping your tires keep traction on the road.

3. Don’t Get Too Confident

A huge factor in serious winter crashes is overconfidence, whether that be in the driver’s ability or the vehicle’s equipment. Drivers often believe they have enough experience driving on ice to drive at or above normal speeds, or they put too much faith in their vehicle’s braking system of 4WD capabilities. Either way, even the most experienced drivers would be hard-pressed to recover from fishtailing on ice while driving 50 mph. At the end of the day, almost no one is qualified to drive safely on ice. All we can do is try to do it safely, understanding the danger, and implement defensive driving techniques.

4. Keep Your Distance

Tailgating during normal driving conditions is dangerous, but tailgating someone when there’s snow and ice on the road is just reckless. Driving too close to a vehicle in front of you reduces your reaction time (should they hit their brakes suddenly), but when you have snow and ice on the roads, you now have to deal with the fact that if you have to brake quickly, you’ll likely lose control of your vehicle. When road conditions are less than ideal, always keep extra distance between yourself and other drivers. It will give you time to slow down or move over at a safe pace.

Repair Winter Auto Glass Damage at Auto Glass of America

If winter collisions have left you with a cracked windshield, a shattered side view mirror, or some other auto glass concern, come to Auto Glass of America in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Johnson City, or Morristown. Across Tennessee, we are dedicated to bringing you premium service at an affordable price. We understand that auto glass repairs are inconvenient, so we make it our mission to get you back on the road as quickly as possible. Contact us today for more information on our auto glass repair services.

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