How to drive on ice

snowyhighway.JPGEvery year we have to re-learn how to keep from sliding into another vehicle or off the road. These six tips may save you money. They may save your life.

1

Slow the heck down

Ice decreases the tension of driving. It makes it harder for tires to grip the road. In a sense, it loosens the gravity that holds you where you are. When ice is present, brake action is useless or even counterproductive. When conditions are icy, you should never exceed 45 mph. When black ice covers surfaces like bridges, slow down to a crawl.

2

Know your limitations

You live in Tennessee. It's very difficult to be an expert on icy conditions here. We're lucky if we get three snowstorms per winter. Don't tell yourself, "I've got this." Because you don't. Curiosity killed the cat - overconfidence could be what gets you.

3

Buckle up

You should do this every single time you switch on the ignition. No trip you take is guaranteed safe - particularly not when the snow is blowing sideways and your visibility is limited to 100 feet.

shovelert.JPG4

Ease up on the brakes

Brakes are reliable when weather is normal. When the road is icy, brakes are no longer your best friend. If you slam on the brakes on an icy patch, you are saying "Let's see where this takes me." It could take you into a sideways spin. It could bang you up against a guardrail. It could propel you into another car.

5

Plot your course ahead of time

If roads are slick, and you know that your destination involves a steep climb, stop and think. Is there an uphill approach that your car can handle? If your destination is up a steep grade, you may be better off parking at the bottom and walking up. And remember - going down this hill will be as treacherous as going up.

6

Stay home

We sometimes get heroic about our need to get out. "They need me at the office." "I can't miss school today." Very often, we do this because we want to get out of the house. If other cars are sliding into ditches, there's a good chance you will slide into the ditch too. Stay put. Read a book. Make toast.

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