How To Drive In Icy Weather – Elf Knows It [ARCHIVED]

Driving in icy/snowy weather can always be dangerous, especially when you have to do it at night. Here’s some tips to make it a safer Winter on the roads.

Driving in Snow and Ice

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a
chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared (TIPS), and that you know how to handle road conditions.

It’s helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open
parking lot, so you’re familiar with how your car handles. Consult your
owner’s manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Driving safely on icy roads

  1. Decrease your
    speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at
    least three times more space than usual between you and the car in
    front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  6. Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled
    roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if
    the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on
    exposed roadways like bridges.
  8. Don’t pass snow plows and
    sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely
    to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  9. Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel
    and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If your rear wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear
    wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer
  3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as
    you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have
    to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely
    under control.
  4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply
    steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is

If your front wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
  2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction
    will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then
    put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate

If you get stuck…

  1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
  2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
  4. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
  5. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
  6. Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner’s manual first — it can
    damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to
    reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch
    on the gas until the vehicle gets going.

Sources: National Safety Council, New York State Department of
Motor Vehicles, Washington State Government Information & Services

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