Do You Know How to Stay Safe on Icy Roadways?

This January has been bitterly cold so far with temperatures dipping into negative digits.  Snow and ice on the roads have been difficult to manage with such low temperatures.  It would be ideal if you could stay indoors until the critical weather passed, but sometimes you just have to get out.  The key is staying safe when braving the weather and venturing out for necessities.

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The following great tips to remember from can help you avoid the photo above and keep you and your family safe while traveling on snow covered and icy road conditions:

The best advice is to wait for conditions to improve.  There is nothing worse than getting in an accident, so if it is at all possible just stay off the road until the threat passes.

Slow speed ahead!  High speeds make it easy to lose control on ice and snow.  Slowing down below 45 miles per hour when icy roads are a threat is the second best way to avoid an accident.

We do not have the skills to drive at normal speeds on icy roads.   A factor in many serious and fatal crashes is overconfidence in one’s abilities and/or equipment (traction control, antilock brakes, stability control, or good tires).  Some people feel that they have sufficient experience in winter driving, and can therefore continue normally (at or above the speed limit).  However, a fishtail on ice that occurs at highway speeds is usually unrecoverable by even the most quick-witted and experienced drivers. Practicing slow-speed slides in parking lots is useless for what happens to a vehicle at highway speed.  A person who enters a high speed slide will quickly learn that it is something they can’t handle usually when it’s too late.

Wear your seatbelt.  Although wearing your seatbelt should go without saying, during the winter months it is even more critical.  An alarming number of road ice fatalities occur with minor accidents where the vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts.

Pay attention to the weather.  Listening to the daily weather forecast is a great habit to get in.  Being aware will help you be more prepared.

Go easy on your brakes.  Applying your brakes can trigger slides that result in loss of vehicle control.  ABS antilock brakes do not work well on ice and snow and often will lock up your wheels regardless.  Sliding wheels are uncontrollable, that is, steering input will not change the vehicle’s direction if the wheels are sliding.

Turn into a slide.  Turn your wheels in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding. It helps to look with your eyes where you want the car to go, and turn the steering wheel in that direction. It is easy to steer too far, causing the car to slide in the other direction. This is called overcorrecting, and if this happens, you will need to turn in the opposite direction.

Icy road accidents happen in multiples.  Your own accident is sometimes not the greatest threat to you.  Additional out of control vehicles often are, so if your vehicle is drivable, keep moving.  If it is not, and traffic is approaching, stay in your car.  Once it is safe, get as far off the road and away from traffic as possible.

Don’t stop for accidents or stranded vehicles along an icy roadway.  Being a Good Samaritan is a noble thing, but on an icy road, it can cause more problems than it solves. Parking on the side of an icy highway can cause passing drivers to brake and lose control, putting the lives of everyone involved in danger. Unless the stranded driver is in immediate danger, the best thing you can do is to call 911.  They are equipped to safely block the road or divert traffic while a tow truck can do the job properly.

Since an accident can happen at a moment’s notice, having comprehensive Ohio auto insurance from Barker, Beck, Collins & Kronauge Agency is very important. We can help protect you and your vehicle thoroughly and affordably. Our team strives to meet all your insurance needs while providing top of the line service. Your policy can be designed to include coverage such as uninsured motorist, bodily injury liability, collision and comprehensive, medical injury protection, and much more. Take action now by having this plan so you can remain safeguarded against financial loss.