Should we learn how to drive on icy roads? Yes, we should…
Because, there is hard stopping moment and so dangerous when we drive in ice: “SLIDE”
Has SLIDE happened to you yet? If it hasn’t, it will unless you’re prepared. This blog post will show you how to correct a slide when you drive on icy roads, but more importantly help you avoid one in the first place.
We’re going to talk about three main points when it comes to dealing with icy roads slides.
- Be aware of the weather conditions in the winter time.
- Slow down when icy roads are imminent or in progress.
- Respond appropriately if your vehicle begins to slide
Before we get into correcting a slide, let’s talk about how you can avoid one in the first place.
Preventing A Slide When Driving in Icy Road Conditions
Anytime the temperature is near or below freezing (at or below 320F/00C) Keep track the precipitation (snow, sleet, rain, drizzle/mist) in your area before you get on the road. Their many apps you can use on your phone to keep track of the weather.
If precipitation is in the forecast and the temperature are below the freezing you can encounter ice at any time.
It doesn’t take much snow or ice to make roads dangerous.
Most fettle ice your road crashes occur with very like snow and ice amount on the road. When precipitation amount and laid, most drivers tend to be going full speed and a car off guard by the sudden path of ice.
One of the most common places for surprise ice is on the bridges.
A bridge more exposed to air than the road surface so it tends to cool much faster than the surrounding pavement after only an hour this bridge was completely covered in snow while the adjacent roads were completely snow free.
When it comes to driving on icy roads the most important driving technique is very simple:
If you stay aware of weather condition and slow down when icing is expected or in progress, you avoid getting into a dangerous slide in first place
That’s always the best outcome the statistics show the most serious and fatal icy road crashes happen at high speeds. Generally about 45 miles per hour, the higher your speed the more likely you are to lose control and more difficult a slide will be to correct successfully.
Your speed should be never be above 45 miles per hour when drive in ice road even on the highway. Some types of icing are more dangerous and may require even slower speeds. And in some cases is just a bad idea to be on the road at all.
As a general rule, if your car begins to fishtail or slide, it’s a sign that you are going too fast.
Before we talk about correcting a slide, let’s talk about over steer and understeer. Both of this condition can happen on icy roads. But it’s over steer that is the most common cause of crashes at high speeds.
Understeer happens when your front wheels lose grip in a turn. Choosing a car to keep going straight even though your wheels are turned to one side. Over steer on the other hand happens when your rear wheels lose grip on the road.
And in over steer condition the back end of the car will slide out word opposite the direction of your steering input. Over steer slides can happen when rounding a curve, turning a corner, or even with a slight steering motion such as changing lanes on a highway.
Most fishtailing is an over steer condition. Slides can also trigger by braking or accelerating. Both of these are actions that can cause one or more the vehicle’s wheels to lose their grip.
Now we have covered the basic of preventing a slide, let’s talk what to do if one happen.
Driving on Icy Roads Safety Tips
There are 3 points to remember about over steer slide correction:
- Don’t use your brakes
- Turn into the slide
- Don’t panic and don’t overcorrect.
Don’t Use your Brake
This is one of the common mistake when cars driving on icy roads. Braking can not only can trigger a slide, it will make a slide worse.
Here is a good example, watch the brake light on this car. The car loses complete control almost instantly, once the driver hit the brake.
Braking, in this case car’s a total spinner before the driver even had a chance to correct the slide. For slide correction to work your wheels need to be turned freely.
The second point,..
Turn Your Front Wheels in the Same Direction of Vehicle’s Sliding (Turning into the Slide)
If the back of your car slides to the right, turn the wheel to the right. As the car straightens out, straighten the steering wheel. It’s helpful to keep your eyes focused on where you want the car to go that is on the road ahead.
The amount you’ll need to turn the wheel is proportional to how far and how fast the back of your car sliding. A small slide will only require a slight steering motion.
What often makes correcting the slide so difficult is it once your car begins to respond to you turning the wheel, it Wop and snap back in the other direction. When you’re in the process of correcting a slide in one direction, be prepared for the car to swing back in the opposite direction.
It can happen several times, and you’ll need to respond accordingly.
Finally the last point,
Don’t Panic and Don’t Over Correct
The over steer slide gives the car’s angular momentum which means it want to keep rotating into a full spin.
Overcorrecting will send the car rotating faster than the steering can counter and car will spin out.
Let’s take a look at some real world examples of accidents and slides. Some of that was corrected successfully and some that weren’t
So let’s take a look at this video here.
This is a bridge and Interstate bridge that curve pretty sharply to the left here in Charleston West Virginia. Notice the car wheel and which direction the car rotate.
Original Video: Very Easy to Over-corrected High Speed
First of all, the car runs on the curve here. You can see the back end comes up to the right. Now the driver right here is responding correctly, you see his wheels are turned just a little back to the right same direction with its sliding.
I want you to look and how the car responds to him turning the wheel to the right. See the car comes back and now it’s a snap back over to the left and you can see again, he’s turning his wheel to the left to correct which is the right move,
But then watch what happen, the car slides back out to the right. At this stage, he over-corrected, it was just a little bit too much and it’s sent the back end sliding out to the right.. Far to the right.
Now, once again turning the wheel to the right, and watch what happen?
So, there he corrects. See how the car goes back in the opposite direction, so he’s turning the wheel back to the left the counter that little slide the left, but unfortunately in this case it’s going to be a little too much..
And again this driver was only about 50mph, but you can see how difficult it is, even if you respond correctly it’s very easy to over-corrected high speed.