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Best way to drive in ice?

Old 12-30-04, 09:44 PM
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Best way to drive in ice?

It's been raining (with some slow flurries) for the last 2 days in a row now, got pretty cold last night and I wake up this morning to find the roads looking like a solid sheet of ice. Did some pretty fun stuff in one of the empty school parking lots, but was taking it pretty easy while on the streets. I almost lost control once on the way home, did a 180 and smacked the curb pretty hard. I'd feel the backend of my car start to fishtail when I would go around corners too.

Aside from driving like a senior citizen, what's the best way to not completely lose control? One of my friends was saying that I should have shifted up when I started to spin like I did.
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Old 12-30-04, 10:09 PM
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don't drive at all.

isnt there a mass transportation like bus?
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Old 12-30-04, 10:10 PM
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go slow, don't accellerate hard as that causes spinning. don't brake hard either
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Old 12-30-04, 10:13 PM
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Put the car into a low gear if it's an automatic, drive in a low gear if it's manual. Don't take corners at even remotely high speeds.
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Old 12-30-04, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mikehunt
go slow, don't accellerate hard as that causes spinning. don't brake hard either
some newer cars have some sort of anti-skid mechanism. on mine, if i go in the rain and accelerate hard, the car will automatically reduce the power so the wheels won't skid.
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Old 12-30-04, 10:33 PM
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man, I WISH I had something like that my car! I was going about 25 mph when I started to lose control, was in 3rd gear and I actualy ended up downshifting into 2nd and 1st; which slowed me down enough not to go over the curb and right into a telephone pole. I ended up driving the rest of the way home granny style; 15-20 MPH I just started letting off the gas when I would see a stop sign coming up, and just kind of pumped the brakes a little bit. This is the first winter that I've had a manual transmission car, so it's a little different.
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Old 12-30-04, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mikehunt
go slow,
For fuck's sake, do not go slow at all times. This is the biggest misconception about driving in bad weather. Half of the danger in bad-weather driving comes from people driving 15mph on the goddamn freeway.

Consider this: If you're driving straight, and you hit an ice patch (and don't freak out), then you're just going to keep going straight. Often, that's what you wanted anyway, and you can cruise right over the ice patch without an incident.

So the key factor is not speed, but acceleration and deceleration. Drive as though your gas and brake pedals only go down 1/3 of the way, and as though your steering wheel turns very little. Specifically:
  • There are only a few situations where you need to drive slowly: When visibility is poor, when the streets have snow or ice, when you're driving on a bridge (which may have black ice), or when you're going around a turn. Aside from these situations, you do not have to drive slowly (so long as you follow these other tips.)
  • At all times, leave lots of room in front of you - maybe 2-3 times as much as you'd normally leave. Think about what happens if the car in front of you spins out of control - you want to be able to take evasive action without locking your brakes. Seriously, staying back 12 car lengths on the freeway is not overkill.
  • When approaching an intersection or red light, start slowing down way in advance. Often, you don't even need to use your brakes; just take your foot off the gas. The friction inside your engine and axles will slow you down.
  • As noted, you should drive slowly around turns, especially tighter/faster ones like freeway exit ramps. If you hit a patch of ice, your car will go straight, and that's not good. Enter the turn slowly and early. Swing out into the berm a little if it's clear. And don't start accelerating until you're out of the turn.
  • As for car maintenance, be particularly mindful of the following: Tires are absolutely the most important factor - if your tread sucks, your car is a deathtrap, so have them replaced. Make sure you have good wipers and plenty of windshield fluid, or you'll be squinting through salt. Don't let your gasoline get too low, or your fuel line may freeze up. And if your battery is weak or old, consider having it replaced (rather than having it strand you on some freezing cold evening.)

As long as you follow these rules, you can drive normal speeds most of the time.

I think of it kind of like driving a boat: Your vehicle is bulky and it maneuvers like a cow. But if you're in open water, not near anything, then go ahead and open up the throttle.

- David Stein

Last edited by sfsdfd; 12-30-04 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 12-30-04, 11:47 PM
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the original post indicated city streets (thus a lot of stop and go) that were completely covered in ice. in those instances going slow is advisable
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Old 12-31-04, 12:05 AM
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Reminds me of last winter, I was driving in my then communter car, a '98 Corsica. The roads were covered with ~ 1/2" to 1" of slush. My tires were cutting through it just fine, I was on a 4 lane divided highway (divided with a ditch, like an interstate). Well, at one point I felt my tires start to ride on top of the slush, and I'm thinking "oh... shit...". Sure enough, at 55mph, my rear kicks out. Luckily, there weren't any cars around me as I started not a 180 or 360, but something like a 2700 (7.5 complete rotations, honestly, I lost count after 5 or 6, 7 is a good guess). I ended up facing the opposite way on the left hand shoulder of my two lanes, looking at a real cool pattern that my car made in the slush (kind of like a double helix), turned around and went on my merry way.

Anyway, as another poster believes, the greatest danger on icy roads isn't the roads but drivers who believe in driving extremely slow when it it not necessary. Just drive the same speed as everybody else, don't hit your brakes on ice, and you'll be fine.
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Old 12-31-04, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by mikehunt
the original post indicated city streets (thus a lot of stop and go) that were completely covered in ice. in those instances going slow is advisable
Even in that condition, you can safely drive 30 on a wide 35mph road if visibility is good and traffic is light.

Actually, my hostility wasn't really directed at you. I've just encountered so many half-witted Clevelanders who drive 7mph on a five-lane, 35mph road. I swear, Clevelanders have long-term memories like goldfish - we usually have snow from December through May, but in the intervening six months they completely forget how to drive on it. And though I'm not a speed demon (usually limit+5), few things in life drive me batshit as quickly as getting stuck behind people driving unreasonably slowly for no reason.

- David Stein
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Old 12-31-04, 01:07 AM
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I'll agree going really slow like 10mph is pushing it, and I get pissed at those people to. but on pure ice I wouldn't push the speed limit either
that's one reason I see so many SUVs off the road on the I90 when I go visit my parents. They think they can go as fast as they want in winter because they have an SUV, then they lose control
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Old 12-31-04, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mikehunt
I'll agree going really slow like 10mph is pushing it...
What really pisses me off is when there are two lanes and one is clear, the other not, and a person is driving extremely slow (like 10 mph) in the clear lane.
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Old 12-31-04, 01:33 AM
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I wouldn't drive at all (unless I really have to). Public transport would be the best bet.
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Old 12-31-04, 01:51 AM
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There are a lot of tips for driving in conditions that suck. If you drive on snow and ice often enough you learn how to control your car. Don't accelerate quickly or break quickly if you do not have to. This will unbalance your car and could make you lose control. When you are trying to merg with traffic make sure you have enough room because you cannot accelerate as quickly. Some idiot tries to kill be by turning in front of my car every year and sitting there spinning their wheels. Spinning your wheels will only slow you down. In an automatic, flick the transmission into neutral when you are trying to stop. This can decrease braking distances by over 30%. If you drive a manual go down through the gears and use the engine to brake. And most importantly if you have to fucking idea of how to drive in the winter and are completely uncomfortable stay the hell of my roads. lol.
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Old 12-31-04, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by sfsdfd
For fuck's sake, do not go slow at all times. This is the biggest misconception about driving in bad weather. Half of the danger in bad-weather driving comes from people driving 15mph on the goddamn freeway.
Maybe with the "all the time" caveat, but ice is bad shit, and "granny style" is the way to go. Snow, even salted snow that has turned to slush, has a much higher coefficient of friction than glare ice and doesn't require nearly the level of precautions. I certainly see some people drive unnecessarily slowly on snowy, slushy streets.

However, in a real ice storm, best tip is don't drive at all. If you have to drive, low speeds, low acceleration, braking, slow turns. Studded snow tires used to help a lot, but they are illegal most places now due to road damage; still, hard to beat hundreds of little nails chipping at the ice for a grip.

If you hit a patch of ice (as opposed to a city wide ice storm) I agree with "don't do anything sudden." Take your foot off the gas, let car decelerate to a safer speed. Do NOT panic and hit brake, you WILL lose control.
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Old 12-31-04, 08:47 AM
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Very fast
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Old 12-31-04, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mikehunt
don't brake hard either


That's the biggest mistake most people make.

David - I hate it when people forget how to drive in the winter - it happens every freakin' year!

Last edited by B.A.; 12-31-04 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 12-31-04, 09:15 AM
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If you have ABS you should break hard (if you need to). But yeah a gradual braking makes sense if you have a choice.

Last edited by Gallant Pig; 12-31-04 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 12-31-04, 11:13 AM
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Ice skates.
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Old 12-31-04, 11:32 AM
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First I think we need to disabuse you of the notion that you can "drive" on ice. Patches of ice are one thing, but significant ice, no way. At that point, it's all about the tires. All seasons aren't even close to cutting it. You're looking at top end Blizzaks or forget about it - nothing else is really soft enough to even try to grip properly.
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