When the roads are icy, the amount of crashes increase dramatically. At times, it is hard to tell if the roads are even slick with ice, as glare ice, or black ice, is especially common. It is difficult to maintain control when your tires cannot keep traction on the ice beneath them. This leads to an excess of crashes.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, Icy roadways cause over 40,000 car accident injuries each year, with over 150,000 crashes. What are the worst things you can do when you are driving on icy roads?
When an individual is driving at high speeds, even if they are not speeding over the speed limit, it is difficult to slow your vehicle down for cars in front of you or for a possible traffic light. It is also easy to lose control of the car. High speeds increase the risk of spinning out or sliding into a ditch.
The best thing to do when you are driving on ice is to drive at a safe speed, typically under the speed limit. It may be wise to test your car's brakes on side streets with little traffic/ parked cars to see what speed you can safely travel while still maintaining control.
Slam on your brakes
When you slam on your brakes on icy roads, your car will likely not be able to gain traction on the pavement, causing the car to skid or spin. This is dangerous, as it results in crashing into other cars, running red lights, or even sliding into oncoming traffic.
When you are out on slick roads, accelerate and decelerate slowly, so as not to skid. Giving yourself enough time to stop for other cars or traffic lights is essential.
Follow too closely to other cars
If you are following too closely behind another car when traveling on slippery road conditions, you may not be leaving yourself enough time or space to slow down or stop without hitting them. As noted above, coming to a stop on ice is not as easy as slamming on your brakes.
It may be beneficial to leave double the space between you and surrounding cars than you normally would. This way, you have a much better chance of stopping or slowing before a collision.
Drive in unsafe conditions
When it is too icy or snowy to drive, your best bet may be to stay inside. If you do not think you will be able to safely make it to your destination, it is wise not to risk it.
Especially during the first few snowfalls of the year, it can be difficult to remember proper winter driving techniques. Making sure you do not commit the winter driving errors above could save you from a bad accident.