Icy Road Survival Tips

Jacquelyn Bennett
Written on January 29, 2016

If you live in the Midwest, you know what it is like to wake up one morning to snow falling. You also know what it is like when salt melts the snow, and how in the morning all of the melted snow has frozen into a thin sheet of ice covering the road. While you could live in your house for days like a hermit, or move to Florida and become a professional beachcomber, you could also follow these survival tips to brave the wintry weather and black ice.

Icy Road Car Tips

  1. Your first defense against icy roads is going to be your tires. Make sure they have nice tread on them. It is also possible to get chains to put over your tires to increase traction. Or, if you would rather, you can shell out money for special snow tires.
  2. Whether you make it yourself or you buy one, it is always helpful to have an emergency kit in your car. Add things such as energy bars, water, a blanket, flashlight, shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, extra clothing, first aid, and maybe some entertainment such as a book. This way, if you get stuck, you have what you need.
  3. While you might not always be able to, try to check the following before going out.
    1. Antifreeze and Radiator
    2. Windshield wiper operation and fluid check (no-freeze mixture)
    3. Heater and Defroster
    4. Brakes and Brake Fluid Level
    5. Emergency Flashers
    6. Tire Pressure and Tread Depth
    7. Fuel Level
    8. Oil Level
    9. Battery Charge and Terminal Cleanliness
  4. Have you ever noticed bags of sand in the back of pickup trucks during winter? No, they are not creating a tropical paradise in their house to hibernate in. What they are actually doing is balancing out the weight in their car for more traction. This works great in 2-wheel drive cars and can help significantly.

Icy Road Driving Tips

  1. When you first leave your house, test the roads. While leaving your house or neighborhood, stomp on your brakes in a safe, clear area. This will allow you to see just how slippery the roads are before you go out and will allow you to better judge how much time you need to stop, etc.
  2. Don’t turn and brake or turn and accelerate at the same time. Separating these actions will keep you from sliding as easily.
  3. Turn into a slide. If your backend starts to slide, turn the steering wheel the direction your backend is sliding. This will straighten things out.
  4. Avoid hills and brake as little as possible. If you don’t need to go the route with a ton of hills, go a different way. Also, if you have enough time to get through a yellow light, it is better to get through it rather than brake.

In the end, if you don’t have to go out when there are icy roads, then why should you? However, if you do, make sure to plan for plenty of time to get where you are going. And if you do have an accident, give Capitol a call at (800) 305-9856!

Have a safe winter!