Driving on icy roads can be more dangerous than you think. Car tires, brakes, and steering wheels can be negatively affected by icy roads. What is more serious is that you endanger your life by driving in these weather conditions. Now, there are many dangers on these icy roads some drivers might not have thought of before. Some of these dangers are:
What will be affected when you drive on icy roads?
Driving on an icy road will indeed affect your stopping distance, but that’s not all; driving on snow is harder than in regular weather conditions. That’s clear, especially on storms like the one that happened in the west coast or in other places. So, here’s how you should drive When traveling on icy roads.
Icy or wet roads can be very slippery, and even if you’re driving at the normal speed you usually drive with, you may lose traction as a result of the slippery surface. Even if the snow is not covering the whole road, the roads might still be wet and slippery. If you lose traction or control over your vehicle, this is very dangerous, so you always need to take care on snowy roads.
Cars with anti-lock brakes are better in these cases. They help you to have more control over the car. When you need to accelerate or brake on an icy road, you have to do this gradually. Also, if you want to move from one direction to the other or take a U-turn, you must do this very carefully and slowly. Reduce the car speed as much as possible, then take the U-turn but don’t do both at the same time.
The other drivers
You may be a professional driver who is used to driving on icy roads; however, other drivers may not have the same expertise. You have control over your vehicle, but you don’t have the same control over others’ vehicles. Hence, it’s essential to watch over other vehicles on the same road as much as you watch over your vehicle.
If the car in front of you suddenly skids over the icy road, you might both have an accident. Similarly, if the other driver doesn’t have control over his car, he can hit you when taking a U-turn or so. Hence, if the matter is not serious, it’s better not to drive on icy roads at all.
Loss of vision
One of the serious dangers of icy roads is the decreased visibility on the road in general. If it’s snowing or raining while you’re driving, you don’t have the same visibility levels as normal weather conditions. Further, it becomes more serious on highways where cars move at high speeds. Whereas inside the city, you might not see people crossing the road or bumps on the road.
When it stops snowing, it’s still not safe to drive on the roads as the ice or snow is still there. Even after a while, the ice starts to melt, causing the roads to become wet, which is still dangerous. So, whenever possible, stay inside until several hours have passed and the roads are not very wet, then see if you can take your car home safely.
How to drive on snow and icy roads?
Sometimes, you have no option other than driving on the icy roads. In such cases, there are some tips and precautions you can take to drive safely on icy roads.
Reduce your speed
The first and most important thing is to reduce your speed on whatever road you’re driving on. Whether it’s a highway or in-city, you have to drive at speeds slower than the normal speeds. On one side, you will avoid skidding on the road, and on the other side, you can control your car quickly if it skids or something appears suddenly in front of you.
Hold the steering wheel
Another essential precaution to avoid losing traction is to keep your hands over the steering wheel all the time. Even if there is no one else on the road except you, you still have to hold on to the steering wheel. Thus, you react quickly when any sudden skidding occurs.
Wear the seat belt
Normally, you should be wearing your seatbelt in any weather condition. However, it’s much more important to wear it on icy roads. Since icy roads are more dangerous and accidents are more likely to occur on such roads, wearing your seat belt is not an option.
If you brake suddenly on an icy road, the chances that the wheels slide are very high. Thus, whenever you need to brake, you have to do it gradually. To prevent braking suddenly, you need to move at a speed that allows the car to stop when you just remove your feet from the acceleration pedal. This way, you don’t even need to brake.
Although all drivers on any road at any time should be cautious, we emphasize this more on icy roads. Being cautious includes keeping a distance from other drivers, avoiding changing lanes whenever possible, and avoiding crossing other vehicles, even if you have a luxury car or an SUV.
Snow tires are the kind of tires that are made to drive more safely on icy roads. These tires have a softer material than other normal tires, and their pattern is different, so they provide better gripping on the icy road. If you’re living in a country where it usually snows, we recommend you invest in these snow tires. They provide better traction and decrease the dangers of icy roads. However, you still need to take all the precautions of driving on icy roads and in bad weather conditions like rain.
What to do if your car skids?
- First of all, you need to be calm and don’t get nervous to have more control over your vehicle.
- Next, focus on the direction you need to move to, not the pavement or the cars you’re afraid to collide with.
- Hold on your steering wheel very tightly, move it very slightly to the direction you’re skidding to and then push the brakes gently.
- Cars with ABS will recognize the movements you’re doing, and they will react accordingly. Don’t remove your feet from the brake, and keep braking slowly. Don’t suddenly push the brakes to the end, as this will increase skidding rather than handling it.
- On the other hand, if your car doesn’t have ABS, fix your heels on the car floor, and your toes are on the brakes. Brake slowly and gently until the brakes are locked. At the same time, move the steering wheel to the other direction opposite to where you’re skidding.
Driving on icy roads is always dangerous, and it’s recommended to avoid it whenever possible. The most dangerous thing is car skidding which sometimes cannot be controllable. Even the most professional drivers can face this on icy roads. If it’s crucial that you drive on an icy road or you live in a country where it’s always snowing, you have to take the safety precautions mentioned above to reduce the risk as much as possible.