Many places in Alabama have already seen snow in 2021! In some areas, the snow did stick to the road and a few saw icy patches on bridges and roads. It’s winter, and although snow is rare here in the deep South, it does happen. Ice is somewhat more common, even if it’s just in small patches. Winter weather makes for dangerous driving conditions and most of us are not that prepared for it. Your local mechanics at Hoover Automotive in Hoover, AL, want to arm you with some safety tips from icyroadsafety.com for driving in icy conditions here in Alabama.
Let’s start with things you should already be doing- buckle up and make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled securely and correctly. Stay on top of the weather forecast and check conditions before leaving. If you know the roads are icy, don’t drive! We know ice and snow are inconvenient, but not as much as a wreck or pile up are. These tips are more about what to do if you start driving and come across ice or conditions worsen as you drive.
- Reduce Speed
Slowing down is the most important thing to do when driving on ice and snow. High speeds make it both easy to lose control and difficult to stop. It’s not recommended to drive faster than 45 mph in any vehicle when roads are icy. Unfortunately, you can slide off of the road on things like black ice at 10mph or less, so many times it’s recommended to drive even slower than 45 mph in these conditions. If you’re fishtailing or sliding at all, it means you are going too fast.
Reminder: No matter what you think, you do NOT have the skill to drive at normal speeds on icy roads. Skill, abilities, and advanced technologies have nothing to do with it. A fishtail that occurs when driving highway speeds is usually unrecoverable by even the most quick-witted and experienced drivers.
- Go easy on your brakes
Even though it feels natural to brake when you see something in the road, this is not the time to apply the brakes quickly or suddenly. Brake application is a common trigger of slides that result in a loss of vehicle control. Antilock brakes will often lock up your wheels. Let’s review what to do if you do start sliding.
- Turn into a slide
First of all, try your best to remain calm. Do not apply the brakes. If you’re caught off guard and begin sliding, turn your wheels in the direction that the rear of your car is sliding. Look where you want the car to go, and turn the steering wheel in that direction. It is easy to steer too far and overcorrect (especially in a moment of panic), causing the car to slide in the other direction. If this happens, you’ll need to turn in the opposite direction. To learn more about correcting a slide, read the information provided here.
- Don’t stop for accidents or stranded vehicles along the road
This seems like terrible advice, but on an icy road, it can cause more problems than it solves and can even . Stopping to help others is noble, but in this situation, parking on the side of an icy highway can cause passing drivers to brake and lose control, endangering the lives of everyone involved. If you witness the wreck, the best thing you can do is call 911. The authorities are able to safely block the road or divert traffic, while a tow truck can do the job properly.
- Avoid hills or other dangerous roads
The laws of physics are unforgiving! If you attempt to tackle a steep enough incline, there is quite literally nothing you can do to stop gravity from doing what it does best. Just don’t do it. You can’t win in this situation.
Reminder: Icy road accidents happen in multiples
If you do run off the road or end up in a wreck, additional out-of-control vehicles often are the biggest threat. If you have to get outside of your vehicle, please be extremely cautious. Read about what to do if you are in an accident on an icy road.
If you’re concerned about the condition of your vehicle this winter, let our trusted mechanics at Hoover Automotive in Hoover, AL take care of you and your vehicle. Contact us today to schedule your tuneup or repair!