I had to be in Medford at 7:30 am Sunday morning (don’t ask!) and I have to tell you, the first 15 minutes of that ride I was terrified. Route 62 was a sheet of black ice. In the 23+ years that I have been driving I had never felt more helpless than I was Sunday morning. Thankfully, people had realized the situation and I didn’t see anyone driving more than 5 mph and most people were using their hazards.
I noticed that any quick movements resulted in near total loss of control of the car. The slower and more gentle I drove the better control I had. With that in mind let’s go through some tips on how to drive on ice/snow and tomorrow we will go over what to do if you have been in an accident.
Become a weather person
The very first mistake that I made was not checking the weather. I was caught off guard and therefore surprised when the car skidded. Whenever possible, especially when traveling earlier in the morning, check the weather to avoid surprises.
How are the tires on your car? Starting to bald a bit? If so, get them changed and quick. Consider going with a snow tire, you will appreciate the extra grip. How about the windshield, is it nice and clear? Rain-x makes a great product that you spray on your windshield creating a film that will keep it clear.
ABS is standard on most cars these days, which is awesome, however, you need to know how to drive and more importantly stop with this technology. Most drivers who have been in accidents with ABS report that they panicked when they felt the brake pedal shaking and took their foot off the pedal. When the brake pedal pulsates it is doing its job!!! By taking your foot off the brake pedal, you are actually defeating the technology. The other part about ABS is the ability for you to steer your way out of trouble.
Ever hear the expression a little goes a long way? When driving on ice, no truer words have ever been spoken. In a lot of cases, the wheels will grip at some point, now if you have oversteered the car, when those tires grip your car will
head in that direction. If that direction is traffic or a telephone pole, you are in trouble.
It is also vital to plan ahead. Since we know that sudden movements on ice can result in loss of control, if you know where you are going you can anticipate corners, hills and tricky intersections. By slowly accelerating or decelerating you can keep yourself out of having to make sudden movements.
Look to Safety
Here is a tip worth it’s weight in Gold…Nascar drivers know that where you are looking is where you will go, this is how they can drive so close to the wall without hitting it, they never look at it. When you are in a skid, look at where you want to go as opposed to that tree in front of you! Trust me it works!
Tomorrow I will cover what you need to do once you have been in an accident.
Are there any tips you can share with us on how to drive on ice? Please comment below.