How to handle icy roads when driving in winter
Driving in winter here in Central Florida is easy – you may have to scrap a thin layer of frost off of your windshield every once in a blue moon, but other than that, the arrival of winter doesn’t really affect our drive times. However, if you live up north you know that winter has a very big effect both on your vehicle and also on your driving habits. Since the holiday season is here and people may be heading north to see family and friends, Toyota of Clermont is here to provide tips on driving in winter weather; particularly, driving in icy conditions.
Tip #1: Remember that bridges ice before the road.
Even if the road doesn’t have any ice on it, you should prepare for the bridge ahead to. Because bridges have cold air flowing both under and over them, they tend to ice before the road does. Be prepared for slick conditions as you cross and be ready to act should your tires slide out.
Tip #2: Don’t slam on the gas or brakes.
Try to avoid sudden movements like slamming on the gas or brakes when you’re driving in winter weather, especially when conditions are icy. If the roads are slick from ice and you hit the gas or brakes hard, it’s likely that your tires won’t be able to gain traction quickly enough and will actually spin instead.
Tip #3: Drive slower than usual.
You should also drive more slowly than you usually do – even if it’s under the speed limit. Driving in winter means you’ll need more reaction time due to slick surfaces and other vehicles losing control. Driving slower will also allow you to retain better control of your car.
Tip #4: Always wear your seatbelt.
ALWAYS wear your seatbelt when driving in winter weather. You should always wear your seatbelt, period, but it’s especially critical in winter weather like ice and snow when an accident is much more likely.
Tip #5: Avoid hills if possible.
Try to avoid driving on hills if you can when conditions are icy. Slick surfaces combined with steep grades can leave you sliding back down the hill while your tires desperately try to regain traction. This almost always results in a collision, so avoid hills and stick to roads that don’t have as much of an incline/decline if you can.
Tip #6: Steer into a slide.
It sounds weird, but if you do start to slide on ice, steer in the same direction that you’re sliding. If you pull the wheel the opposite way, you can send your car into a spin and make things much worse than they actually are. Instead, take your foot off the gas and steer into the slide, being gentle with more movements so you don’t make the spin worse.
Have questions about driving in winter weather or how to prepare your car for icy roads? Toyota of Clermont has the information you need. Call our Toyota Service Center today at (352) 404-7000 or stop by and see us. We’re conveniently located just off the Florida Turnpike at 16851 State Road 50.