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How to navigate winter driving dangers

Driving a Car
Posted at 6:08 AM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 06:08:18-05

Winter weather can be dangerous, especially on the roads. We’re talking about black ice in particular. If you’ve ever encountered it, you know how scary it can be. Consumer Reports has some lifesaving advice that every driver needs to hear.

Black ice is moisture that freezes when temperatures drop, blending into the asphalt. It’s often invisible to motorists.

If ever there was a time when slow and steady wins the race applies, it’s when there’s the potential for you to lose traction.

Everything in slick conditions takes longer, so leave yourself some room. It also protects you from other drivers who may not be driving appropriately.

If you think your four-wheel or all-wheel drive will help on black ice, think again. It’s your car’s antilock brakes that can help you stop safely and regain control.

You’ll know they’re working when they start to pulse against your foot. Maintain firm pressure on the pedal and let the brakes do their job. And if your car does begin to slide out of control, here’s the best way to regain control.

There are basically two kinds of skids: oversteer and understeer. In both cases, your reaction should be to turn in the direction you want the car to go. With oversteering, it’s very intuitive; you turn into the skid, and when you regain control you end up going where you want to go. With understeering, your impulse is to want to dial-in more steering. Don’t do that. Keep the wheel steady so that when you regain control you’re going where you want to be. In both cases, avoid abrupt motions. Easy on the brakes and easy on the throttle until you gain control.

And take note of that little snowflake icon on your dashboard. It’s a warning light controlled by a temperature sensor near the front bumper to warn you when temperatures drop and there’s the potential for ice on the road. It’s a good reminder to slow down and be careful.

And remember to always buckle up!