Driving Safely On Ice and Snow
January 2, 2018

Winter weather is upon us. With this temperature plummet comes the reality of road ice and snow. Naturally the concern for "black ice" is also present during this time of year.

Black ice is especially dangerous for drivers; the ice has a "chameleon" effect on the road, and conceals itself on the pavement. We will most notably observe black ice on shady or darker areas of road than pavement in the sun. This, in turn, gives a driver a false sense of safety.

A couple of things to consider for winter driving:

1. Ensure that your tires have decent tread on them, and that the air pressure is at the correct level

2. Give yourself additional travel time to commute.

3. Travel about 5-10 mph below the speed limit sign. This gives the car less velocity, giving you extra time to react and avoid a spinout. Drop this speed if you can feel the tires struggling to maintain their natural ground contact rhythm.

4. Add an additional car length distance between you and the car in front of you for every 10 mph traveled. For example, if you are traveling 35 mph, the normal safe following distance is 3.5 car length from the car in from of you. In icy conditions, add another complete car length to total 4.5 car lengths.

5. Four wheel drive vehicles are not exempt from spinouts. These vehicles are designed to work efficiently off of conventional roads, not to drive normally on ice. Four wheel or all wheel drive does not mean four wheel or all wheel stop.

6. Do not hit the accelerator or brakes suddenly and sharply. This can result in a spin out. Be deliberate in your application of accelerator, brakes, or turn.

7. If you feel a fish tail starting, release your foot from the accelerator. Gently turn into the skid, and correcting slightly until control is regained.

Keep yourself, and others, safe during the cold weeks ahead while driving.