How to Drive on Ice
A high percentage of traffic accidents occur in winter. Less hours of light and adverse weather do not make it at all easy for drivers. Of all those enemies, possibly the most dangerous is ice. It is not that the fog, the wind, the rain or the snow is snot of turkey ... but the ice has that component of surprise that does not happen with the rest of the meteorological elements.
When it comes to driving with ice on the road there is a maxim: tranquility. There are a number of techniques, which we break down below, that will help you. But it's better not to have to use them
- Adequate Speed: If you approach an area where there is or maybe ice, reduce your speed before reaching it. Once in it, try not to move the steering wheel (or do it in a very subtle way, without abruptness).
- No Hard Braking: One of the most common reactions, when one feels that the tires lose grip, is to press the brake pedal hard. It is useless, the only thing you will get is to lose more control. It is more convenient to step on the pedal gently, and repeatedly, to decrease speed, without losing control of the vehicle.
- Smooth Accelerations: On-ice the tires do not "grip" like on the asphalt. They need more time for them to grab onto that surface, so accelerating fast makes it easier to lose control of the car. To gain traction the idea is to accelerate smoothly. If you can't, slow down and accelerate even more sparingly.
- Delicate Steering Wheel Movements: If your car slips, it is useless to follow the steps that happen in oversteer or understeer ... because there is no traction on the ice. What you have to try is to recover it, something that you will only achieve by lifting your foot from the accelerator. By having traction again, thanks to ESP (electronic stability control), the car will regain the trajectory that you indicate with the steering wheel. The same thing happens with aquaplaning: you have to let the car slide until the tire finds a nip in the grip.
- Long Gears: With these ratios, without exceeding 2,500 rpm, the torque is delivered to the wheels more delicately, it is better to use them than the short ones, which favor the wheels turning faster and increasing the possibilities of skating.
Driving on ice is contrary to haste. Before taking a trip, check the weather and road conditions. Avoid getting behind the wheel if it's not absolutely necessary.
In that case, if you have to take the car, it is advisable that you leave early so as not to create unnecessary situations of risk (such as overtaking in a delicate place). Also that you know where you can find ice sheets, to pay more attention:
- Humid and shady areas, especially in mountain areas.
- On bridges and overpasses (and under them).
- Tunnel entrances and exits.
- In speed bumps and depressions.
- In roadside ditches (vegetation helps moisture condensation).
As you know, ice forms when the temperature reaches 0 degrees, but the thermometer must exceed 4 degrees for it to turn back to the water. Don't let your guard down even if you think it's not freezing. Nor if you see the sun and it seems that the road is in perfect condition. During the last hours of the night and until dawn, they are the coldest hours of the day ... if there is any humidity, be careful. Avoid driving at night, the more visibility you have in winter, the better.
Be careful also when there is snow. It is common for people to follow the tracks of other vehicles, where the snow is compacted and turned into ice.
Furthermore, in these weather conditions, it is vital to increase the safety distance. The distance a vehicle travels from when the driver steps on the brake until the car stops are greatly increased. With more space between vehicles, there will be more space to maneuver without risk of collision in case you or the preceding vehicle skid on the ice.
Car About To:
As you can understand, having a good shoe is vital in these situations:
- Tires: Below 7 degrees conventional tires lose performance. There are alternatives, such as having winter tires, designed in order to guarantee a greater grip on difficult surfaces. If two sets are not possible, take a look at the All-Season tires, with compounds and tread patterns whose performance does not decline as the temperature rises.
- Pressure: With the cold, the tire pressure drops. So if they are not inflated properly they may take longer to react than usual, which is dangerous if you have to drive on ice. Check the pressure more frequently.
- Chains: It is not mandatory to use snow chains ... but if there is ice, a white blanket may also appear and it can be useful to carry them in the car during these months. And without forgetting vests, triangles ... in case an unforeseen event occurs.
- Scraper: Of course, what you can't do is drive with ice on the moons. We already explained how to remove ice and snow from the car ... as well as the ways you should avoid.
- Full Fuel Tank: Something we always recommend in winter, to avoid running out of the heat in case of problems. Do not forget the mobile phone and charger, some food and drink ... as well as clothing and footwear suitable for the cold, in case you have to get out of the vehicle.
- General Review: In addition to these more specific details, check the condition of the battery, fluid level, brakes, wipers, and lights ... Everything helps to not have problems.