Ice can form on a road surface for a variety of reasons. Roads can get icy because of ice storms, freezing rain, freezing water puddles, and snow melt that refreezes as ice. Because of this, a motorist can unexpectedly find himself on ice such as when driving on a shaded spot of the road that has not been warmed by the sun, or when crossing a bridge or overpass which tends to ice up before the rest of a road’s surface.
When roads are untreated and the pavement temperature is less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, ice is always a possibility. If you find yourself driving on icy roads, these tips will help you avoid an accident:
Don’t Allow Overconfidence to Overrule Good Judgment
Overconfidence in one’s driving skills or in technology can cause the motorist to drive too fast in icy conditions. Superb driving skill or technology is only an asset when they don’t cause the driver to place him or herself into dangerous situations. For example, the laws of physics won’t allow you to stop your car in a few hundred feet when driving 40 mph on ice. There isn’t sufficient traction for that to happen regardless of driving skill or of ABS braking technology. The same is true of snow tires or all-wheel drive cars. Snow tires (without metal studs) provide grip on snow but offer only slightly better traction on ice. All-wheel drive does not help at all with braking.
As mentioned in the previous tip, ice provides very little traction with tires. Braking as well as turning at higher speeds requires a lot of traction force which ice does not provide. Therefore, your primary defense on ice is less speed.
Steer into the Skid
If your rear wheels start to skid, gently turn your front wheels in the direction of the skid. Don’t hit your brakes.
Drive in a Lower Gear
If you have a manual transmission, driving in a lower gear will give you more control and will keep your speed down.
Allow Your Car to Pass over Small Patches of Black Ice
When you find yourself on a patch of black ice, keep your steering wheel aimed straight ahead and allow your car to move past the ice. This means you shouldn’t be braking, accelerating, decelerating (with gears), or trying to turn. The aim is to go through it in a straight line while doing as little as possible.
Stay off of Hills
Going uphill or controlling your speed while going downhill on steep grades is not possible on ice. Again, there isn’t enough traction.
The best defense against ice is avoiding it in the first place. Always check the weather forecast and stay off the road when ice is predicted. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident because of the actions of another motorist, an experienced car accident lawyer can help you. To discuss your options, don’t hesitate to contact us.