How to Drive Safely on Ice
Before heading out of the office for our Christmas break, I want to share several good tips about safely operating your car or truck on ice. Make sure to share this information with anyone who may be forced to drive on icy roads.
Each year in the U.S., there are 200,000 accidents due to bad winter weather. Spinning out of control can make anyone panic but drivers who are able to drive smart and stay calm can easily regain control of their car and avoid an accident.
The first rule for almost all situations is to drive slowly and carefully. Give yourself plenty of room to negotiate obstacles and others.
Next, when the front or rear of your car begins to slide on ice, DO NOT use your breaks. This is the first thing most people do when they feel their car begin to slide and unfortunately, using your break will only make things worse. Instead, we suggest the following.
When you feel the rear tires spin out and the backside of your vehicle fishtails, do not hit the break or take your foot off the gas. Doing either will redistribute weight towards the front of your vehicle and you will not be able to gain control.
Instead, smoothly accelerate. This will keep the weight towards the rear of your vehicle allowing you to regain control. While doing this, turn into the skid which means keeping the front wheels of your vehicle pointed in the original direction you want to go.
Now when you try and turn but the front wheels of your vehicle slide and a turning movement doesn’t happen, as I mentioned above, do not try and use the break. Instead, lift your foot off the gas and steer back toward straight. This will allow your front tires to start rolling again, gain traction and allow you to regain control of your vehicle.
The above techniques work with rear, front or all-wheel drive vehicles.
These ideas and suggestions in this post were originally shared in the January issue of Men’s Journal as described by Mark Cox, director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.