Winter is officially upon us. In New York, that means snow is coming. It won’t be long before drivers will be trying to deal with slick, icy roads.
If your car suddenly loses traction on a patch of ice, the sense that you’re losing control of your vehicle can be gut-wrenching — but you can regain control with a few smart moves.
Rule One: Don’t brake.
It may take every ounce of strength you have to fight your instincts, but take your foot off the brake as soon as you start to slide. Most vehicles today have an anti-lock system, and slamming on the brakes will only make you spin further out of control. Take your foot entirely off the brake. (If you have a lower gear on your vehicle, you can safely drop the gear to get a little more traction.)
Rule Two: Steer gently and correctly.
How you try to steer when you’re spinning out or fishtailing across the road depends on whether your front wheels or your back wheels are sliding.
- If it’s your front wheels, take your foot off the gas and let the vehicle slow to a stop, if possible. If you’re still sliding and can’t seem to stop after a few seconds, tap your brakes very, very lightly. Don’t try to steer because you’ll only increase the spin.
- If it’s your back wheels, take your foot off the gas and gently turn your steering wheel the same direction your car is sliding. That should bring you to a stop.
Be safe: Slow down
The smartest thing you can do when the roads are covered in snow and ice is slow down. Rushing only increases the potential for an accident.
Unfortunately, not every driver out there will have the same good sense as you. If you end up in a wreck with another vehicle, focus on your recovery. Once the immediate danger to your health is over, you can learn more about your right to compensation for your losses.