Three Best Tips for Driving in Ice and Snow

J.D. Power and Associates

While the best advice for driving in snow and ice is to simply stay home, this scenario represents an unrealistic ideal. Many people have no choice but to drive on wet, slippery roads. If that describes you, there are three things you can do to help ensure that you arrive at your destination, safe and sound.

Slow Down

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One may believe that slowing down on a slippery road should represent common sense, serving as a prime example of a human being's self-preservation instinct, but many drivers forget this simple rule when the weather turns nasty. Of course, you don't want to slow down to the point that you become more of an obstacle to your fellow motorists than weather and road conditions are, but all drivers need to reduce their speed in equal measure to an intensifying storm and deteriorating driving conditions. Also, once the storm is over, it's best to keep speeds down until you are sure the road is simply wet and not covered in black ice.

Plan Ahead

When driving in wintry weather, you don't want to make sudden moves. The car won't respond in the same way that it does when traveling on a dry road, and sudden changes of direction can also spook other drivers, causing a chain-reaction of bad driving decisions.

To avoid becoming the catalyst of collisions, plan ahead. Start braking early for turns. Activate your turn signal early to give other drivers plenty of warning that you're planning to change lanes or turn. Try not to alter your vehicle's direction in a sudden fashion, unless, of course, you're trying to avoid a collision with another vehicle.

Finally, if you're traveling in an unfamiliar part of town and you realize that you're going to drive right past your destination, it is much better to continue on, find a safe place to get yourself turned around, and then go back. Don't slam on the brakes. Don't cut across lanes of traffic. Don't try to take a turn too fast. You'll only be tempting fate.

Avoid Hills

YouTube is loaded with video clips of cars sliding down icy hills like they're on a toboggan run, and then plowing into a gathering pile of crumpled cars at the bottom. Hills tend to ice over fast, and should be avoided whenever possible until road crews have had a chance to clear them of snow and apply salt, sand or other de-icing material. Don't become an accidental social media star.

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