SAN ANTONIO – Freezing temperatures and wet roads make for dangerous and unpredictable driving conditions. Black ice, in particular, can be scary to navigate because it’s often invisible to drivers.
Black ice is moisture that freezes when temperatures drop, blending into the asphalt. The first roadways to ice up typically are overpasses, bridges and ramps.
“If ever there was a time when slow and steady wins the race applies, it’s when there’s the potential for you to lose traction,” said Jennifer Stockburger, who oversees testing at Consumer Reports’ auto track.
Most Texans are not experienced in navigating icy roads. Stockburger is and offers this advice.
“Everything in slick conditions takes longer, so leave yourself some room. It also protects you from other drivers who may not be driving appropriately,” she said.
When it comes to stopping on ice, Stockburger says your four-wheel or all-wheel drive doesn’t offer extra benefit. It’s your car’s antilock brakes that can help you stop safely and regain control.
You’ll know the antilock brakes are working when they start to pulse against your foot, Stockburger said. Maintain firm pressure on the pedal and let the brakes do their job.
If your car does begin to slide out of control, here’s Stockburger’s advice:
“There are basically two kinds of skids: oversteer and understeer. In both cases, your reaction should be to turn in the direction you want the car to go. With oversteering, it’s very intuitive; you turn into the skid, and when you regain control, you end up going where you want to go. With understeering, your impulse is to want to dial in more steering. Don’t do that. Keep the wheel steady so that when you regain control, you’re going where you want to be,” she said. “In both cases, avoid abrupt motions.”
Take it easy on the brakes and the throttle until you gain control, and remember to buckle up.
As always, Your Weather Authority team will keep you updated. You can get the very latest forecast an check out the interactive radar anytime by bookmarking our weather page and downloading the KSAT Weather Authority App - available for both Apple and Android devices.