Much of the country is in the throes of remarkably cold weather, and over the coming months, there will no doubt be situations where those freezing temperatures are accompanied by ice. This can make the road more perilous than even a snowstorm would, and if you ever find yourself traveling down such a path, you need to know how to make the drive as smooth and safe as possible. To that end, consider the tips on hand from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department in a new report.
The safest thing you can do is avoid icy roads entirely, although we understand that this may not always be possible. If you’re driving a manual-shifting vehicle, try to stay away from the highest gears, as they won’t provide as much traction as the lower ones. And if there’s even a chance that ice may be coating a portion of the road, then speed must be kept in check and at no point should the cruise control be activated, as this can increase the chance of sliding.
Just because you have a four wheel drive vehicle does not mean that your tires are glued to the ground. Such vehicles can slip just as easily as two-wheel drive automobiles. No matter what kind of car you’re in, tap the brakes lightly at all times, and if you feel a slip, your first order of business is to actually let off the brakes or the gas. When you jam down on either, you could exacerbate the danger.
When your rear wheels are responsible for the fish-tailing condition, use the steering wheel to maneuver your vehicle in the desired direction, and then reverse course if the wheels start to overcompensate the other way. Maintain an even keel, and while you do this, lightly press the brakes without letting up. If your vehicle does not have an antilock brake system, you’ll need to tap and then let go of the brakes repeatedly, as doing otherwise could make it harder to stop.
When the situation impacts the front wheels, you should actually place your vehicle into neutral. Hopefully, this will allow the wheels to get back on track, and you can help things along by steering the wheel toward the proper path. Once you’re confident that you’re back on track, you can go back into drive and very slowly bring your speed back up.
Finally, understand how to get your vehicle going again if it’s beached on the ice. With the car in park, you should shovel the area around the tires. With that complete, you can further help yourself out by placing gravel on the area your tire will need to be on. Once you start the automobile, go from reverse to accelerate until the vehicle gets going, but refrain from gunning the engine in a manner that only gets your tires in more trouble.