Getting snowed in during the wintertime can be fun - you have a day off of work or school, you can curl up under a blanket with hot chocolate, and you may even head outside to build a snowman or get into a snowball fight. If you have to be on the road, though, what was originally a low-key day off could turn into a harrowing trip. Here’s how to stay safe when you have no choice but to drive in icy conditions.
• Don’t get too confident. No matter how experienced of a driver you are, when your car fishtails while you’re driving at a high speed on the highway, odds are slim that you’ll be able to regain control of your car. The risks increase when you’re driving a cheap car rental that you’re unfamiliar with.
• The faster you drive, the more dangerous it is. It’s easier to lose control of your car at high speeds. Always keep your speed under 45 mph, despite the posted speed limit. Remember, the speed limit is a suggestion for ideal conditions, not dangerous ones.
• Avoid braking too much. If you feel your car sliding, don’t slam on your breaks - they could lock up even if you have antilock brakes and the slide could become much worse.
• It’s great to want to help people, but try to resist the urge to pull off to the side of the road when you see someone in need. Doing so will cause other drivers to slow down and brake, which could make them slide.
• If you feel your car start to slide and there’s nobody around and nothing in your way, steer with the slide. If you’re on a busy road, carefully turn the wheel in the direction that you want the car to go. Either way, don’t overcorrect - you could end up sliding in the wrong direction or losing control.
Of course, the best way to stay safe when the roads are icy is to stay off them until conditions improve - that isn’t always an option, though. During the wintertime, make checking the weather a part of your regular morning routine, just as you always brew coffee and search for new car rental discounts. Otherwise, you could get caught on slick roads when you didn’t needto be out of the house in the first place.