March 6, 2021

Weather News – Road Conditions – weather forecast

Tips on safe driving in ice, how to avoid crashing

3 min read

Good tires, slow speeds, looking far down the road, and no sudden moves are all recommendations from experts on how to drive in ice and snow.

WASHINGTON — With more freezing rain in the forecast, we could all probably use a refresher on driving in the worst conditions. The first piece of advice is one you’ve probably heard: Stay home.

But if you have to go out in a storm, you’ll want to follow this advice to stay at least a little bit safer.

First off, get decent tires. The four spots where the rubber meets the road are the only thing sticking your car to the pavement. Bald tires will make it hard for you to get going, to stop and to negotiate a turn.

But what about if you hit a sheet of ice, like that interstate in Texas where six people died?

“If you lock up the brakes in a straight line on ice, come off the brakes, and hold the wheel steady,” Jon Felton who has trained drivers for the State Department and runs high-performance driver education classes through Get Fast Events, said. 

RELATED: Next messy snow & ice storm for us: Thursday

That old advice about turning into a skid? Experts say that’s if your rear wheels are sliding. But a front skid is more likely. 

“If you’re in a turn, more steering will never fix your problem,” Felton said. “Unwind the wheel, take the steering out… because that’s what caused the problem. The steering is what overcomes the traction to the front tires.”

“Keep your head up, your eyes on the road,” Tom Pecoraro of I Drive Smart driver education added. 

Pecoraro has a car on a sled with four wheels that look like something you might find spinning 360 degrees on a shopping cart. The computerized skid avoidance system allows him to teach drivers to look ahead and avoid sudden moves.

If you go into a slide, your eyes may fixate on that tree you’re about to hit. Pull them away and look down the road where you want to go. 

“Look at your intended path, not where you’re headed,” Felton said. 

So if cars are spinning out all around you, focus your eyes on that one gap where you might be able to thread the needle and make it safely past the scene.

Also key in a storm is to drive way below the speed limit, and give other cars and objects you might hit a wide berth.

If you see a stop sign or stop light down the road, take your foot off the gas and come almost to a stop before you even touch the brakes. By avoiding any jackrabbit starts and stops, you save gas and avoid skidding or losing control.

You never want to have sharp, fast inputs on your steering or your brakes, because sudden moves will let the car start to slide.

It’s also smart to consult Waze, Google Maps, or Apple Maps ahead of time, to see if there are any wrecks and slick spots you can avoid.

RELATED: Wintry weather blanketing US making rare dip to Gulf Coast

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2021-02-16 00:15:20

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