When icy roadways are involved, the most important thing you can do to avoid an auto accident is not driving at all. Even if you have to reschedule that key meeting at work or delay that trip you’ve had planned for so long, think about staying home when conditions are bad or forecast to get worse.

If you’re caught trying to get somewhere and the highway becomes better for hockey than driving, here are 17 general tips for driving safely on ice. Of course, you should always carefully review your owner’s manual for any warnings, notices, or other advice specific to your vehicle.

Ease up on the Gas

  • Slow way down. If you do go into a skid you’re less likely to do your vehicle or yourself damage.
  • Accelerate and apply brakes slowly.
  • Increase your following distance. You’ll need ten times the stopping distance compared to what you’re used to on dry pavement.

How to Tell If the Road’s Icing Up

  • Don’t use your car thermometer as the only judge of how slippery the road is. Air temperature warms quicker than pavement. So even when your thermometer says it’s above freezing the roadway may still be frozen. Look for ice on your wipers, side view mirrors, road signs or trees as other signs that extra caution is needed.
  • Avoid driving at night or very early in the morning when it’s coldest.
  • You can’t always see ice coming. Black ice is thin ice that actually looks like water on the road. Again, watch for signs of icing up elsewhere.
  • Don’t use your car thermometer as the only judge of how slippery the road is. Air temperature warms quicker than pavement. So even when your thermometer says it’s above freezing the roadway may still be frozen. Look for ice on your wipers, side view mirrors, road signs or trees as other signs that extra caution is needed.
  • Avoid driving at night or very early in the morning when it’s coldest.
  • You can’t always see ice coming. Black ice is thin ice that actually looks like water on the road. Again, watch for signs of icing up elsewhere.

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