Tips for Driving on Ice - the basics

Most of us have experience driving on ice, but few of us really want to do it on a regular basis. It's understandable. Ice is treacherous whether you're in a vehicle or on foot.

Here are some basic tips for those who find themselves in a vehicle and on ice. Add to these tips with your own insights and experience as my intention here is only to provide the basics. If you want to learn about how to handle ice on the roads, look into taking an "ice driving" course.

As you review my tips and insights, keep in mind that ice can take many forms and it behaves differently under various weather conditions. Here are my tips to help you when driving on ice:

  • A very thin layer of ice is just as treacherous as a thick layer.
  • Ice melts under the weight of your vehicle, making it far more slippery. This happens more readily at temperatures near freezing, and almost not at all in the bitter cold.
  • A thin dusting of snow can turn to ice just from the melt and refreeze that takes place under the tires of passing cars.
  • Loose snow can cover patches of ice and make it very slippery.
  • There is nothing more slippery than wet ice, so be aware of ice with surface water from melting or splashing.
  • "Black ice" is simply ice that you don't see on the pavement because it blends in with the dark color of the pavement. It's often caused by snow that melts and refreezes because of passing vehicles, and can be created by warm pavement during the day that freezes during the colder nighttime temperatures.
  • Vehicle control while driving on ice requires that there be no sudden changes in speed, force applied to the drive wheels, or direction of travel. Make changes smoothly and gradually to maintain control.
  • With front wheel drive vehicles, you can detect ice when your steering wheel starts to "hunt" as your drive wheels lose traction.
  • Slowing down on ice with a manual transmission vehicle demands that you first push in the clutch to avoid a sudden change in force to the drive wheels. Taking your foot off the gas while the clutch is engaged is tantamount to applying the brakes.
  • A thin layer of sand, cinders or dirt on ice can provide you with much better traction.
  • Studded tires provide just a bit more traction, and often that's all you need to drive on ice.
  • Any source of moisture in any form can cause ice on the road. Be aware that intersections can be icy from cross traffic, and piles of melting snow are good sources of ice when they flow across the pavement during the day and freeze during the night.
  • Safe speed on ice is equivalent to the speed at which you believe you can safely stop your car to avoid an accident.
  • Allow at least 10 times more distance and time to stop, start and turn on ice.

Well, those are the basics. If possible, stay off the road when it's covered with ice. During winter weather we encounter a lot of fender bender type accidents, instead of major wrecks, but my approach to frugal living includes staying out of the repair shop and out of the hospital, so I avoid driving on ice.

When driving on ice, take special care that you drive slower than you would on snow. It's up to you to know the limitations of your skill and the behavior characteristics of your vehicle when driving on ice and snow.

Here is a video that shows how ice on the road, snow on top of it, and a little gradient can mess up any plans you might have for keeping your car under control.

You need to "drive your drive" regardless of what other nitwits on the road are doing. When they get banged up or slide into the ditch because of driving carelessly on icy roads, you can give them a friendly wave as you go by because you know better about driving on ice, and safe driving is part of your wise and prudent lifestyle.

Done with Driving on Ice, back to Safe Driving

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.