Ice Driving Safety Tips
The show Ice Road Truckers can make good entertainment, all the while thinking, “Better them than me!”, and it’s always a blast to watch the zany antics on the show Top Gear as the show’s cast of drivers spins madly on frozen lakes and ice-laden roads. In real life, ice driving usually isn’t as much fun. Real lives are at stake and real damage can result. Canadian drivers know Winter’s frozen wonderland of the North can be as treacherous as it is beautiful.
Ice mixed with snow is expected, and driving speeds are often adjusted accordingly. The hidden danger is in black ice, so named because it can be difficult to distinguish from the roadway. Black ice is most likely to form when there is light rain and temperatures are close to freezing. Be aware of temperatures before hitting the roadways and try to avoid driving when conditions are ripe for black ice to form. Black ice can look like a puddle ahead, slightly dull if dry – but still shining if wet.
Preparing the Car (and the Driver)
There’s never a good time to drive when distracted or when tired, but when conditions may be icy, take extra measures to avoid these risks that can make you less attentive. Also, consider purchasing 4 proper snow tires. All-season tires are built to do most things reasonably well but snow tires have a more aggressive tread design and special compounding to provide more grip in wintery conditions. Outfitting your car with 4 snow tires (not just 2) helps you to maintain better traction at both ends of the vehicle, an important step to improve handling and reduce spinning or sliding.
Drive Slowly and Avoid Sudden Movements
Moderating your speed not only reduces the chance of losing control of your vehicle, it also improves your odds if you do lose control of the vehicle. A faster impact is more dangerous and potentially more damaging. Sudden movements on ice can cause slides and spins. Try to make your movements as smooth as possible, avoiding any sudden or jerking acceleration, braking, or turning. If you do feel the car beginning to slip, take your foot off the accelerator to moderate your speed quickly and smoothly.
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