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What to Do If Your Car Starts to Slide on Ice

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Subaru snow

With the winter months approaching rapidly, snow is beginning to fall in many parts of the country. When snow coats the roads, melts, then refreezes into ice, it can create extremely dangerous driving conditions. We all know the basic safety tips for driving in the snow, but what happens if you hit a patch of ice and your car starts to slide? What do you do? Here are a few tips for how to handle a situation when your car slides out of control.

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Do not brake

When you lose control of your car, your first instinct is going to be to brake. Fight that instinct. If you push down on your brakes, it will make the sliding worse – especially with anti-lock brake systems. Decelerate your vehicle by taking your foot completely off of the accelerator, but do not touch that brake.

Steer gently

Similar to braking, you should never jerk the wheel when your vehicle begins to slide. This will cause you to over correct and send your vehicle into a tailspin.

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Rear-wheel skid

If your back wheels are the ones that have gone out on you, gently turn your wheel in the direction you are sliding while taking your foot off the accelerator – but do not brake.

Front-wheel skid

If your front wheels begin to slide, take your foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow. After a few seconds, if you still don’t have control of your vehicle, lightly press the brake (we’re talking one toe, here).

To avoid skidding on ice, one tip reigns true: slow down. Whether that’s decelerating around turns, avoiding slamming on the brakes, or just staying a few miles an hour under the speed limit, decreasing your speed will decrease your chances of losing control.

Sources: Icy Road Safety, Defensive Driving, Mac Info