While snow and ice are exceedingly rare in a place like Tampa, it’s a different story if you’re heading north for the holidays or going on a long-distance road trip. How do you safely drive on icy roads? By following these safety tips for icy road conditions, you can ensure a safe and accident-free trip this winter.
Understand the warning signs of icy roads
You should never use your vehicle’s thermometer as a judge of road conditions—you’ll only know how slippery the road is by driving on it. Since air temperature warms much quicker than pavement, the roads may still be frozen even if the thermometer says it’s above freezing outside. Check for ice on side view mirrors, wipers, road signs or trees to indicate when you need to use extra caution while driving.
Unfortunately, you can’t always see ice coming. Black ice in particular can be dangerous, since it looks like standing water on the road. Again, keep your eyes peeled for icing up on other elements to determine whether roads are icy, too.
Be careful on certain roadways
While the roadways built on solid ground may not be icy, it’s often a different story when it comes to bridges, overpasses and ramps. These roads are the first to freeze and thaw, since they don’t have insulation provided by the ground. Use extra caution when driving on these roads, since they could be icy when other road surfaces are not.
Crank the defroster
Keeping the defroster going is one of the essential safety tips for driving during icy road conditions. If you notice rain or snow turning to frozen precipitation as you drive, crank up the defroster. It’s unsafe to drive if you can only see through a small portion of your windshield. If the defroster can’t keep up with the precipitation and freezing temperatures, pull over and scrape off the ice manually, or wait until freezing conditions have eased up and it’s safe to drive again.
It’s all too easy to skid on ice, even if your vehicle has an anti-lock braking system (ABS). If you find yourself driving downhill in slick conditions, leave your vehicle in normal drive gear and head downhill using light, steady pressure on the brake pedal to maintain an appropriate speed. This allows your braking system to maintain traction, preventing skidding.
Being patient and careful and easing up on your speed are the best ways to protect your safety and the safety of other drivers during wintery weather conditions. Drive well below posted speed limits when roads seem slick, and always maintain an appropriate distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
If you’re driving to a destination that commonly experiences winter weather, including freezing temperatures and precipitation, you need to use an abundance of caution. By following the tips above and learning how to safely drive on icy roads, you keep yourself and other drivers safe. Learn more about responsible driving, whether in town or on vacation, by contacting Affordable Car Insurance Tampa. We’re here to help!