All of North Carolina and much of the country is experiencing snow and icy conditions, which are dangerous to drive in, so it’s best to stay home. But if you just have to leave, AAA Carolinas has some valuable tips for driving while on ice to avoid accidents.
DRIVING ON ICE:
- Avoid unnecessary travel. No one can drive well on ice. Listen to authorities’ recommendations and delay travel until road conditions improve.
- Accelerate, decelerate and turn slowly. Everything takes longer in icy conditions, so be sure to leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you – a following distance of 8-10 seconds.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of energy it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on icy roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little momentum going before you reach the hill and let that momentum carry you to the top. Avoid stopping while going up a hill.
- Don’t use cruise control. You may need to quickly reduce your speed by lifting off the accelerator, which cannot be easily accomplished on slick roads when cruise control is engaged.
- To get out of a skid, lightly take your foot off the brake or gas and try to regain traction. Always look and steer where you want to go.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, including an ice scraper, kitty litter or sand for traction, jumper cables, cell phone with a car charger, blankets, gloves, hats, food, water and any needed medications. Be sure to bundle up with a winter coat, boots, gloves and a hat in case you get stranded.
- If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you.
- Stay on major routes. If you must drive, stick to thoroughfares that have been plowed or treated and stay in the most recently cleared lane.
- Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses. They freeze because they are exposed to air on all of their surfaces.
- Fill up on windshield washer fluid. Salt brine and sand from treated roadways will build up on your windshield, so be sure to have enough washer fluid to keep it clear. Opt for windshield washer fluid with a low freezing point to help keep ice and snow from sticking to your windshield.
- Avoid distractions. Power off or store your cell phone, turn down the music and focus on driving.