How to Drive Your Rental Car on Icy Roads

cheap car hireThere are few driving experiences more unnerving that driving on icy roads, but, unless you decide to hibernate for winter, sometimes it cannot be avoided. Whether you decide to rent a car or drive your own, Nova Car Hire has some great tips on how to minimise the risk of an accident when you’re driving in winter.

Be Prepared

Before you get into your car, check your tyre tread, and use snow tyres when appropriate. Clear the windscreen for maximum visibility and use your dipped headlights during the day. While you are driving, travel slowly and never tailgate.

Be Vigilant

Black ice is particularly common at night or in the early mornng, when there is no sun to warm the road surface. This light glaze can be difficult to detect, but its effects can be seen when vehicles swerve for no apparent reason. If you discern a shiny patch on an otherwise matt black road, don’t panic.

Stay Calm

The general rule for negotiating icy patches is to do as little as possible. Avoid braking, and keep the steering wheel straight. If the back of the car veers in one direction, make a slight turn of the steering wheel in the same direction. Steering in the opposite direction can make you skid. Take your foot off the accelerator and move to a low gear if possible.

Skid Safely

If you do skid, wait for your tyres to find traction. Some braking will be necessary if you are skidding a lot. Those with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) should apply firm pressure to the brake and allow the car to pump the brakes for you as it skids. Those without ABS should pump the brakes gently through the skid. Steer the car in your intended direction.

Deal with Major Skids

If you do leave the road, attempt to steer to relative safety. Drive toward banks of snow or an empty field. If you have to keep driving afterward, do so very slowly and turn on your hazard lights. If you can stop, do so until you’ve had a chance to recover.