Driving your car when temperatures start to drop can become treacherous. According to the Federal Highway Administration, icy pavement causes over 156,000 car crashes each year. Black ice is particularly dangerous because it is almost impossible to see.
If you come across black ice, do not panic. Remembering a few simple tips can keep you from spiraling out of control.
Try to remain calm
Black ice patches are often only a few feet wide; they will not go on forever. Do not make any drastic moves and you may be able to drift back onto a sturdy piece of roadway. Look for a matte finish on the road to help determine where the icy spot ends.
Do not slam on the brakes
When on a slick spot, there is no traction for your wheels to grab so the brakes will not help. Instead, remove your foot from the gas pedal to slow yourself down. Slowing down will give you a bit more control over your steering. If you do skid, tap on the brakes to keep the wheels from locking. Cars equipped with antilock braking systems will auto-pulse the brakes.
Do not jerk the steering wheel
You instinct may be to turn the wheel the way you want to go, but this could cause the car to spin out of control. Instead, attempt to keep the wheel straight. If the rear end of your vehicle begins to slide, you may slightly turn your wheel in the same direction.
Winter weather makes you more susceptible to motor vehicle accidents. Remember these tips to keep yourself and your passengers safe.