Tips for driving on slick, icy roads

Tips for driving on slick, icy roads

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Our station vehicle took 35 feet to come to a stop on the ice at an initial speed of 10 mph. Our station vehicle took 35 feet to come to a stop on the ice at an initial speed of 10 mph.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Friday's early commute will be hazardous due to the ice storm.

Some say the best advice for driving in bad winter weather is to not drive at all, if you can avoid it.

But if you have to hit the roads, there are some techniques you should keep in mind.

6 News went to the Ice Chalet in Knoxville to show just how hard it can be to drive on ice.

Our station vehicle tried driving on the rink. At a speed of 10 mph, it took our SUV 35 feet and six inches to come to a complete stop.

Experts say it takes usually about three times as much stopping distance as it normally would when you're driving on ice, so leave plenty of room in front of you.

Some other things to keep in mind:

  • If you're hitting the road, know your vehicle's limitations. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
  • Drive slowly and use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  • Turning is especially hard when driving on ice and slick surfaces. Be extra diligent during turns.
  • Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Leave yourself plenty of room between other cars to avoid skidding and colliding
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  • Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  • Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  • Know how to handle your brakes. If you skid with regular brakes, pump them to keep from locking up. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), however, do not pump, but apply steady pressure. You will feel the brakes pulse, which is normal for ABS.
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