Winter has only just begun and already it’s one of the snowiest Michigan winters on record.
To help ease the stress of snowy and icy roads, here are 23 tips that will help you drive safely on icy roads.
My first tip is the most important one and if you can follow it word for word, you won’t need the other 22. To be 100% safe when the roads are snow and ice covered – don’t leave the house.
Simple, isn’t it?
But the reality is that most of us don’t have the luxury of letting the winter weather run its course. We have to get out there and go.
So if you must leave the house, for my second tip I recommend not leaving your warm and cozy abode until you are sure the snow plows and salt trucks have had a chance to do their job – don’t be in a hurry!
Here are the rest of my tips for driving on icy roads…
Driving safely on icy roads
- 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.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep your headlights and windshield clean from snow and ice.
- Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
- Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- 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.
- Don’t pass snow plows and salt trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
- Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
If your rear wheels skid
- Take your foot off the accelerator.
- 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 right.
- 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.
- If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
- If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse.
If your front wheels skid
- Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
- 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 gently.
If you get stuck
- Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
- Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
- Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
- Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
- Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
- 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.
What Else To Know?
Safely driving in the Winter is hard enough. Snow and ice make even the most routine drive dangerous. It’s not too late to make sure your vehicle is in good shape for handling the extreme winter conditions.
All of our LaFontaine Service Centers can help you prepare your vehicle for the Winter Season by offering you:
- Complimentary Tire Inspections
- Free Battery Testing
- Coolant Flushes
- Wiper Blades
- Wheel Alignments
If you’d like to get your vehicle ready to handle these frigid condition, visit us online at 995OilChange.com to schedule an appointment at your local LaFontaine Service Center.
Have any Winter Driving Tips that you’d like to share? Please post them in the comments section below.