Tips for Icy Driving

Ice Driving

I feel like after many years of driving in winter weather, I'm the kind of person that can definitely handle snow. 

Ice is a different story.

No matter how great your car is, even if you have snow tires and AWD, ice isn't something you want to mess around in. When things go wrong on ice, they go wrong quickly.

SLOW DOWN
No matter what kind of road you're on and no matter how traffic filled it is, there is no reason to take your car over 40-45 MPH - at the MOST. Every piece of research I found agreed on this. In fact, you can slide off the road at pretty much any speed over 10 MPH. The advice I found was that if you are slipping or fishtailing AT ALL, you are going too fast. 

STAY HUMBLE
Weird piece of advice, but one of the most common factors in ice related accidents is driver overconfidence - either in the car (but I have AWD/traction control/antilock brakes/winter tires) or in themselves (I've driven in these conditions or worse for years! I practiced recovering from skids and slides in a parking lot with my dad!). Ice driving is unpredictable, and most drivers involved in ice accidents thought they were handling things well - until they weren't. 

EASY ON THE BRAKES
Most accidents involve using the brakes. Even ABS brakes don't work well on ice. If your wheels lock, you don't have control. Go slow so you can brake slow and maintain control.

TURN INTO THE SLIDE
If you're going slow, and going easy on the brakes, and you STILL slide, turn the wheel in the direction that your REAR is sliding in. Be careful not to overcorrect. Remember, slow and steady is the key.

DON'T STOP ALONG THE ROAD
Obviously, if you realize you shouldn't drive, that's probably a good decision, but make sure you get to a safe spot to stop. Pulling to the side of the road is very dangerous for both you and passing drivers. If you slid, and you're stuck, call for help.

PLAN AHEAD
Ideally, if it's icy, don't drive. But if you HAVE to, plan the flattest route possible. Hills (and gravity) are unforgiving in the ice. 

Try not to drive in the ice, but if you do, wear your seatbelt, stay calm and focused, and go slow!