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Winter Driving Tips: How to Drive on Icy Roads

Don't succumb to what the experts call "target fixation" when driving on icy roads. That is: focusing on your impending doom instead of taking proper evasive action.

It can take a driver twice as long (and twice as much space) to stop a vehicle when driving in snow versus driving on dry pavement. File | Patch
It can take a driver twice as long (and twice as much space) to stop a vehicle when driving in snow versus driving on dry pavement. File | Patch
By Leslie Yager

Normally, snow melting is a good thing. But if snowmelt covers roads and freezes tonight as the area plunges into the deep freeze, ice will make driving hazardous.

Patch has these tips for driving on icy roads.

Don’t slam on your brakes. If you’re sliding on a patch of ice, hitting the brakes harder won’t stop you. Experts advise that you go against your natural tendencies and turn into the skid. You also need to accelerate. Learn more about how to safely brake in snow and how to exit a skid here.

Slow down. Driving too quickly for the conditions is the biggest cause of snow crashes, according to Edmunds.com.

Leave room. It can take a driver twice as long (and twice as much space) to stop a vehicle when driving in snow versus driving on dry pavement. You should leave twice as much room as you normally would between you and other vehicles on the road.

Or, don’t drive. If you can avoid driving in when roads are covered in snow or ice, that’s probably your safest bet. Walk when it is safe to do so.

Have an emergency kit and good supplies. In the winter months, AAA recommends that you keep the following items in your vehicle:

  • A bag of abrasive material like sand, salt or kitty litter to sprinkle under your tires if you get stuck.
  • A small snow shovel.
  • An ice scraper.
  • Windshield washer fluid.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Extra-warm items like blankets, hats and gloves.
  • Water and snack food.
  • First-aid kit.
What winter driving tips do you have to share? Tell us in comments.

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