|If you don't have experience driving on icy roads, it be a real danger.|
Here in Texas, we've been experiencing an unusual streak of cold weather, which has left roads icy and conditions dangerous.
The amount of accidents due to the weather in the last couple of days is insane. In Austin, more than 300 accidents have been reported in the last couple of days. The Houston Fire Department alone responded to 151 accidents in just six hours. It doesn't take rocket science to see who the culprit is. Texas drivers aren't used to driving in icy conditions (you won't find snow tires anywhere in this state) and the cities aren't equipped to make the roads safe in freezing temperatures. The fact that school buses can't handle the weather and that districts are closing classrooms in conditions that would make Northern states laugh show that all the Lone Star State needs is a little lesson on how get through a particularly rough winter.
We don't want you to wreck your new Hyundai, so South Point Hyundai is here with some tips on how to drive safely in icy conditions:
1) Regular Service
You should always keep your car up-to-date with regular service, but this rings especially true in colder weather. Make sure your battery, cooling system and windshield wipers are equipped to handle a rough winter. If you need more convincing, think about how much more money it would cost to tow or repair your vehicle than to just do regular maintenance.
2) Practice, Practice, Practice
The reason drivers outside of the South are better able to handle icy conditions on the roads is that they have more practice than you do. Go to an empty parking lot or a quiet area of a neighborhood when the conditions are slick to learn how to brake safely, accelerate, turn and more. You'll thank yourself later when you're the best driver on the road!
3) Double the Distance
Your car is going to take longer to respond in icy conditions, so put more distance (we recommend double the normal distance) between you and the car in front of you. Keep scanning the vehicles in front of you and look out for brake lights. The less you have to slam on your brakes, the more likely you'll go accident-free.
4) Ease Up
If you're constantly slipping when accelerating from a standstill, ease up on the accelerator. Give your tires a chance to "catch" the road by slowly putting pressure on the gas. If you have an automatic transmission put the selector lever to 2.
5) Slow And Careful
The big problem with driving on ice is just how unpredictable it can be. You don't expect to slide around just like you don't expect to slip on ice on the sidewalk! Be slow and careful. Anticipate turns and stops so you can approach them gently and do not accelerate into turns.
When braking, look ahead and plan in advance, apply the brakes gently and slowly add pressure until you come to a complete stop. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, stop the car quickly by applying firm constant pressure to the brake pedal.
When the rear tires lose traction and you skid, here's what you need to do. Let up on the gas and gently turn your wheels in the direction you want to go. Be careful not to over correct and do not re-apply the gas until you are heading in the direction you want to go.
8) Ease Off The Throttle
If your car is not turning how you want it to, try easing up on the gas into the turn. Whatever you do, do not panic and turn sharper into the corner if you go too wide.
Gently take your off foot off of the gas without letting go completely to regain control of your vehicle when you hydroplane.
Whenever on an icy hill, do not brake if you don't have to - going uphill or downhill. Speed up slightly before going up a hill to give you momentum, and slow down if you are approaching to go down a hill. On steep declines, coast as long as you can, but don't let your car get out of control. Apply the brake when necessary to keep your speed to a manageable level.
If your windshield is covered in ice, do not put hot water on it! That could shatter your windshield. Instead, turn your engine on and let the defroster run for 5-10 minutes. Once the ice begins to melt, use an ice scraper to get it off. If you don't have an ice scraper, a spatula is a decent substitute.