What to do when your car starts to slide on ice

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Automotive

Winter in Ontario can be quite intimidating – black ice, flurries and reduced visibility don’t make for the best driving conditions. Taking precautions like reducing your speed, using winter tires and adjusting your driving for the weather can help keep you safe on winter roads.

But sometimes, no matter how much you slow down and take the cautious route, slips can still happen. Losing control of your vehicle can be scary, but the key is to not panic. Instead, take a deep breath and remember these tips.

When your car starts to slide
What 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 steering wheel in the direction of the slide while removing your foot from the accelerator.

What can you do to prevent sliding?
By the time winter rolls around each year, many of us are out of practice when it comes to winter driving, and cars sliding on ice is a common occurrence. As a result, the first snowstorm of the year typically leads to an unusually high number of collisions.

Of course, the hazardous roads make it more difficult to drive safely in the winter months, but what else contributes to this increase in collisions? Here’s what you can do to help avoid sliding:

Use winter tires
Once temperatures are consistently below 7°C, it’s time to change to winter tires. They’re made of softer rubber and have specially designed treads to grip slippery surfaces. In fact, they provide up to 50 per cent more traction than other tires and can shorten stopping distance by up to 25 per cent. Plus, many insurance providers – like Onlia Insurance – offer discounts for equipping your car with them during the winter months.

Slow down
Driving too fast on icy roads isn’t the same as speeding in good weather conditions. Even if you drive at your usual speed, particularly on the highway, you increase your chance of spinning out of control. You’ll also find that it’s harder to brake. If the temperature is below freezing and it’s snowing, your best bet is to slow down and take your time.

Avoid harsh braking
Braking too quickly can lead to slipping and sliding. Brake gently by easing your foot down on the pedal. Be sure to keep enough room between yourself and the driver in front of you to give yourself a little extra stopping distance.

Accelerate slowly
When your wheels spin faster, your chance of losing traction increases. If you need to speed up for any reason, remember to ease into it.

Protect yourself
Try as you might, sometimes accidents still happen. It’s important to be cautious when driving in harsh, slippery weather, and even more so to protect yourself from the unexpected. Having the right car insurance coverage can give you peace of mind that you’ll be covered on the road, no matter what happens. More information on insurance options is available at onlia.ca

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