Wipeouts can oftentimes be avoided by reducing speed when weather conditions are poor. If you suddenly find yourself skidding, there are ways to help regain control and reduce the risk of a collision.
How to Drive Over Black Ice and What to Do If You Start to Skid
Sliding on ice can lead some motorists to panic. One of the common reactions is to brake suddenly. Fast braking can cause the vehicle to slide more than it already is and can make regaining control difficult. Avoid braking or tap the brake pedal lightly instead of pushing down hard on it.
Another reaction is to give the vehicle gas, with the intent of quickly getting off the black ice. Avoid doing this. Slowing down (by tapping the brakes lightly) is the best way to regain control.
Be sure to turn the wheel in the same direction the rear vehicle is skidding. Avoid over-correcting this situation by steering too far, as it can cause the vehicle to slide in the opposite direction.
Whatever actions you take, do so slowly and with extreme caution. Sudden movements of any kind behind the wheel are more likely to make the situation worse.
Identifying Black Ice and Preventing an Accident
Certain weather conditions – high winds, falling snow or rain – are obvious. But other ones, such as black ice, are not as visible. In fact, this icy condition can be very deceiving. It may look like you’re about to drive over a dry roadway but it could actually be covered with a clear glaze.
However, the reflection from your headlights can oftentimes pick it up. So be sure to have the vehicle’s lights on when driving at dusk and later. Also, pay attention to the road ahead to look for possibilities of black ice.
Keep in mind that certain spots are prone to develop black ice, like bridges and overpasses. Also, areas that don’t get a lot of sunlight like tunnels or tree-lined routes may be susceptible to black ice formation. You can anticipate it when the conditions are right for water to freeze. Take note when the temperatures dip significantly and there has been rain, sleet or snow.
The time of day is another important indicator of the likelihood that black ice has formed. It’s usually not on the ground during daylight hours but tends to form overnight or in the early morning hours. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it can’t happen during the day so always be on the alert.
Other Tips to Avoid Wipeouts on Black Ice
Also, keep a safe distance from other vehicles. If someone does hit a patch of ice, it could prevent a collision. Even the best tires can slide on black ice.
The possibility of a black ice crash in Indiana becomes especially treacherous when tires are in poor condition. When you take your car in for an oil change have the mechanics check that the tread on the tires isn’t worn.
Finally, consider that it might be best to avoid driving at all when weather conditions are extremely poor. If there is any chance that the roads are icy, it might be a good idea to just stay off them.
Be sure to check out our other driving safety tips, especially if you have a teenager just starting to drive in Indiana.