When it’s raining or snowing, people get a visual reminder to drive more cautiously. Freezing temperatures can also create hazardous driving conditions. It is sometimes even more dangerous than a storm since drivers do not always remember or realize that they need to drive more cautiously at this time. With the frigid cold New England weather arriving early, we thought it would be a good time to share some tips on driving safely in freezing temperatures.
Beware of Black Ice
The biggest danger of driving in freezing temperatures is the build up of black ice. As its name implies, this type of ice can appear black and blend in with the dark pavement. Whether you are driving during the day or at night and on back roads or the highway, you can easily miss a patch of black ice on the road. Here are a few precautions that you can take…
Avoid speeding. It’s that simple. Higher speeds make it more difficult for you to react to and recover from driving over black ice. On roads prone to water build-up and ice, reduce your speeds even further.
Know How to Use Your Brakes
Using your brakes correctly is essential when it comes to recovering from a slip and avoiding an accident. If you have anti-lock brakes, apply constant and steady pressure. You may hear a crunching noise and feel it pulsating. This is caused by the brakes automatically engaging and releasing. If you do not have anti-lock breaks, pump them by pressing and releasing over and over again. Doing so prevents the breaks from locking up.
Controlling Your Vehicle
Give some extra thought to how you drive your car. Using a lower gear can help with traction control. Avoid using cruise control as this may increase the time it takes for you to react to problems. Lastly, if you start skidding, your first reaction may be to turn your wheel in the opposite direction. It is often more effective to turn into the skid to regain control.
Distance from Other Cars
It is important to keep a certain distance between your car and the one in front of you. The higher the speed, the more the gap should be. If you hit a patch of ice, you will need sufficient space to stop and avoid rear ending the other vehicle. Try and break gently rather than stopping on your breaks. This will minimize skidding.
Driving Safely in Freezing Temperatures
Driving safely in freezing temperatures is just as important as driving safely during snow storms. No matter what type of hazardous conditions you may be driving in, it is important to stay alert and be aware of the hazards of the road. Your reaction time will make a huge difference in avoiding accidents.