Tips For Driving On Slick Roads

Dealing with snow and ice can be treacherous for even the most experienced drivers. Here are a few tips for keeping your car under control on slick roads.

Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) offer significant advantages on slick roads, if used correctly. To operate ABS effectively, motorists should apply steady pressure to the brake pedal during the entire stop. ABS will automatically pump the brakes, if necessary, to keep the wheels from locking. Never manually pump ABS brakes yourself. Apply only steady pressure continuously until you come to a complete stop.

If you don't have ABS, you should gently apply pumping pressure to your brakes during slippery conditions. Do not apply steady pressure to your brakes. Standing on your brakes will only cause wheel lock, and may result in your car spinning out of control.


The biggest problem facing most winter drivers is skidding on slick, icy or snow covered roads. It is possible to steer out of a skid! Once you feel your car begin to skid, slowly remove your foot from the accelerator, until you feel your wheels regain traction control. (Do not attempt to brake!) As your vehicle's tires grab the road, slowly turn the steering wheel in the direction you want your front wheels to go.

When you begin to spin, remove your foot from the gas pedal. Slowly steer in the direction you want the car to go. If you are still skidding out of control, counter-steer until your vehicle is pointing in the right direction. Never apply steady pressure to the brakes.

You can improve your VISIBILITY by clearing all snow and ice from your vehicle. Be sure to remove ice and snow from hood, roof, trunk, turn signal lights, tail and headlights, windows, mirrors and fenders.

Use your LOW BEAMS when driving in an ice or snow storm. You'll have better visibility.
Allow for greater STOPPING DISTANCE during snow and ice storms. In order to bring your car to a safe stop, you must allow 8-10 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Remember that POSTED SPEED LIMITS are only to be followed during ideal weather conditions. Slow down while driving on snow or ice.

When driving UPHILL on ice, pick a path that will allow the most traction. Monitor vehicles in front of you and steer clear of areas where they spin wheels or slide backward. Unpacked snow will give most vehicles sufficient uphill traction.

To maintain control on CURVES and TURNS, reduce speed just before the turn. Any sudden acceleration or deceleration during a turn will send you into a skid.

NEVER brake while driving on ice. If you are approaching a patch of ice, brake during your approach. Applying pressure to your brakes while on ice will only throw you into a skid.
Maintain your TIRES. Tires that are in proper working condition and are adequately inflated provide better traction.

Travel GENTLY. Everything you do on icy roads will affect how your vehicle handles the situation. Move slowly. Turn slowly. Brake slowly. Sudden changes can cause your car to spin out of control.

Having a well stocked emergency kit in your car can help to save your life and make you more comfortable during breakdowns, accidents and long waits. Your kit should include:

  • Battery jumper cables
  • First aid kit
  • Shovel
  • Basic tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver and knife)
  • Blankets
  • Extra clothing (hats, socks, boots, mittens)
  • Flashlight
  • Bag of sand
  • Cellular phone or CB