Winter is upon us, and so is the prospect of ice on the roads. Here’s how to spot and safely navigate it…
How to Spot Ice
It’s not always easy to spot ice whilst on the road, usually because it takes the form of ‘black ice’. This is, essentially, a very thin layer on the road surface. Because it’s so clear, it can blend in with tarmac – taking on its colour and making it difficult to detect, especially whilst behind the wheel.
You’ll sometimes notice it due to a glossy sheen, especially if the sun is shining. Sometimes, you’ll see drivers swerve without an obvious reason. Generally though, you’ll likely not spot it at all. In which case, the best defence is to anticipate it during winter weather conditions and to drive at a safe speed.
Usually, you’ll encounter ice on quieter roads – as reduced traffic leaves it intact and local authorities are sometimes slower in their gritting activities. If you find yourself driving upon it, the first thing you need to do is remain calm and to avoid panicking; panic will simply cause you to make quick, careless actions that can make you lose control of your vehicle entirely.
You should keep your steering wheel straight and maintain a steady speed. Above all, you should avoid applying your vehicle’s brakes. Lowering your vehicle’s gear is a safer of way of reducing overall speed.
Correcting a Skid
Sometimes, if you’re driving on ice, you may find your vehicle enters a skid. Losing control of your vehicle, even for a moment, can be a frightening experience. The key is to remain calm, to keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel and to steer in the direction of the skid. So, if the rear of your vehicle slides to the right, you should turn your steering wheel towards the right.
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