Staying Safe on Icy Roads

Even with winter tires, and even if you have an impeccable driving record, hitting an icy patch is always scary. Within a split second you can be spinning out of control, causing an accident, and potentially causing harm to other people. There are a few things to remember to avoid the worst possible scenario and ensure that you are staying safe on the roads in the dead of winter.

Be gentle

Reduce your speed and be gentle as you drive. Gentle steering, gentle on the breaks and gentle acceleration.

Go easy on the brakes.

Slamming on your breaks on ice can trigger the kind of sliding and slipping you’re afraid of. Instead, Saskatchewan Government Insurance recommends what they call threshold braking, where you shift into neutral (declutch) and push the break in until you feel one or two of the wheels lock. At that point, ease up on the brake until all the wheels are rolling again. Do this repeatedly until you have stopped.

Turn into a slide.

If you’re fishtailing or sliding, it typically means you are going too fast and you should take your foot off the accelerator, but be careful not to put your foot on the break. Don’t panic and turn your wheels in the direction that the rear of the car is sliding. If you feel like your car has regained some traction you can slowly — slowly — turn your car back into the direction you want to go.

Remain calm.

Some of the biggest mistakes happen when you panic. So if you hit a patch of ice or black ice don’t overreact, because then you will overcorrect and can send you and your car into the spins. Just slow down and try to maintain traction for as long as you can.