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If the pavement looks slick, should I venture out? Although it is your safest option to stay off the roads, very few of us have this luxury with work and other obligations. When you have to take your car out on slippery streets, the question becomes: How do I drive in this weather? The answer is, according to the conditions.

1. Be Cautious and Go Slow

Two cars driving in snowy conditions

Typically, drivers are more alert when traveling over snow-covered roads, but what about when there is ice beneath the powder? When precipitation freezes and another snow shower covers these slick patches, drivers can be at a higher accident risk. Unfortunately, there is no way to foresee that spot of black ice underneath snow until your vehicle starts to spin out of control.

At this point, whether you’re driving over snow or after a rain storm on a frigid day, take it slow. As many drivers find, you can lose control even going the speed limit. As a general rule, when you suspect or know roads are icy, do not drive too fast for the conditions of the road to avoid fishtailing on black ice.

2. Add More Distance

Studies show it can take 10 times as long to stop when you’re driving on an icy road. As such, make sure you have that buffer – at least 20 seconds between you and the vehicle in front. Always be ready for the car ahead to stop suddenly and know how you’d handle the situation. Additionally, give yourself more distance and time when you’re traveling downhill.

3. Know How to React

Ice ultimately makes your car’s behavior less consistent and, whether you’re sliding or finding a common vehicle feature is ineffective, know what to expect and how to respond:

  • Braking: What works to stop your car on dry roads makes you slide across icy ones. Antilock brakes (ABS) lock up your wheels in the process of stopping. While you might not be able to change direction, steering into an oncoming curve may help you straighten out.
  • Fishtailing: Sliding around or fishtailing indicates you’re going too fast over the ice. At this point, lower your speed without slamming on your brakes and make small motions. Too great a turn can lead to overcorrecting.
  • Pulling Over: Believe it or not, it’s not a good idea to park to the side of an icy road. Other drivers, especially if they can’t see the lines or suspect danger, may slow down and lose control, slide around or hit another motorist. To avoid causing a pileup, keep driving until you find a parking lot or rest area by the highway and call the police if another driver looks to be in danger.

4. Don’t Get Too Confident

Many drivers believe they have enough winter driving experience to go out on icy roads without thinking of the consequences. However, as ice tends to be a greater hazard than snow, you need to be extra alert and practice defensive driving throughout your journey.

Also realize that other cars pose a threat and there’s no stopping an out-of-control vehicle on ice. As a result, you can drive as carefully as possible, but when another vehicle gets too close and starts to slip, an accident could result.

5. Equip Your Car

Although driving on ice ultimately comes down to your skills, your vehicle needs to be ready. That being said, do not drive in inclement weather when you’ve got bald or worn-down tires. First, check that the treads have a minimum 3mm depth. Also make sure you have an emergency kit packed and enough gasoline, should you be stuck outdoors for a long period of time.

If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident because someone was driving too fast for the icy conditions, Trantolo &Trantolo will fight for you. Let Our Family Help Your Family™. Contact one of our Connecticut law offices today.