What to do When Your Car Starts to Slide on Ice
Sliding is inevitable sometimes. Here's what you should do when it happens, and tips on how to avoid it.
With the presence of black ice and seemingly never-ending flurries, winter is a recipe for slipping and sliding – and not just on sidewalks. Seasoned drivers accustomed to winter driving know that sliding on icy roads is sometimes inevitable. It happens to the best of us, even when we’re being our safest. So, what can you do when you start sliding to reduce the risk of a collision, and get back on course safely?
Step one: don’t panic.
Step one: don’t panic.
What to do when your car slides on iceWhat you’ll need to do to correct your slide depends on which wheels are slipping on the vehicle.
If it’s your front wheels, remove your foot from the accelerator and let the vehicle slow down. If you continue to slide, press on the brakes gently to help bring your vehicle to a stop.
If it’s your back wheels, slowly turn your wheel in the direction of the slide while removing your foot from the accelerator.
What shouldn’t you do when your car slides?Just as important as what you should do when you begin to slide, is what you shouldn’t do.
First and foremost, don’t slam on your brakes. It might be your first instinct since you want your vehicle to stop – but this won’t work on icy roads. The harder you brake, the more likely you are to make your slide even worse. If you need to brake, do it as gently as possible.
The same logic applies to turning your steering wheel. You never want to turn abruptly during a slide; it’ll cause you to overcorrect, and likely send your car spinning out of control. Just like braking, do it slowly and deliberately when you need to.
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What should you avoid to prevent sliding?By the time winter rolls around each year, most drivers are out of practice when it comes to winter driving; and cars sliding on ice is a common occurrence during the season. As a result, the first snowstorm of the year leads to an unusually high number of collisions – just consider the 400 collisions the city of Toronto saw during one of the first major snowfalls of the 2019 season.
Of course, the hazardous roads make it more difficult to drive safely in the winter months, but what else contributes to this drastic increase in collisions?
Here are some of the most common situations that cause cars to slide: