Vehicle Safety: Driving on Ice and Snow

January and February are known for being the coldest months of the year. When the cold comes so does snow and ice. Winter storms and icy driving conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter according to the AAA. Driving during these conditions is generally not ideal! When the roads are icy the best way to avoid an accident is to not drive at all. If you must go out on the road here are some tips to help you stay safe in icy conditions.

How to keep traction on icy roads:

Have the Right Winter Tires

Having the correct winter tires is very important for staying safe on icy roads. Also make sure your tires are properly inflated.

Carry Chains

These tires chains are a great way to give your car’s tires some extra gip in icy or snowy conditions.

Drive Slow

Even with snow tires and carry chains don’t become overly confident in your tires traction. Driving slow is one of the best ways to ensure you keep control of your vehicle if you do hit a patch of ice.

Accelerate and Apply Brakes Slowly

Take your time when accelerating or slowing down your vehicle. This is help you maintain control of your car in icy conditions.

Increase Follow Distance

Following closely behind another vehicle is a bad idea in general. However, when road conditions are icy tailgating is even more dangerous. Keep your space from other vehicles so you have time to stop and swerve around them.

Never Use Cruise Control

Cruise control causes wheels to spin at different speeds which increases chances of skidding.

If your vehicle feels like it's floating, take your foot off the gas but don't slam on brakes.

Let Tailgating Vehicles Past You

If a vehicle is following closely behind you, if possible, let them pass you. This will lessen your chances of them colliding with you.

How to tell if road are icy:

  1. Air temperature warms quicker than pavement.

  2. Just because the air conditions are above freezing does not mean that the pavement is above freezing. Don’t use your car's thermometer as the only judge of roadway conditions. Looks for ice on your wipers, side mirror, road signs, or trees.

  3. Avoid driving late at night or early in the morning

  4. During the early hours of the morning and late at night are the most dangerous times to be on the roadways. Not only are those the most cold times of a day but sight distance is very limited.

  5. Extra careful over bridges, overpasses, and ramps.

  6. Bridges, overpasses, and ramps are generally colder and therefore icier than other parts of the roads.

  7. Be careful during changes in elevation.

  8. Changes in elevation can also mean changes in temperature. Be careful when driving on mountains or any areas of higher elevation.

We hope these tips will help you remain safe on the road this winter. Sometimes despite our best efforts, things do go wrong. Make sure your insurance coverage is up to date and your coverage limits are enough to protect yourself, your family, and your assets. If you have any questions about insurance or your coverage give Southern Insurance a call at (423) 296-0626.

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