Tips: How to drive safely on ice & snow


by Rod Hill, KGW Staff

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Posted on December 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 19 at 2:00 PM

PORTLAND -- Since snow only falls in Portland a couple times a year, if at all, experts have shared some tips to help drivers avoid accidents on slick roads.

Here are 6 easy-to-remember tips to help control your vehicle: 

Tip #1 - Slow down before you turn. Braking while turning your car can cause you to lose control. 

Tip #2 - If you start to skid, keep your eyes looking the direction you want to travel. The natural eye-hand coordination will help you regain control. 

Tip #3 - If your front tires lock into a skid, a gentle pump of the brake will throw weight forward and can add traction to your front tires. 

Tip #4 - If your rear tires go into a fishtail, a slight acceleration can throw weight over the back end of your car, increasing traction and helping you regain control. 

Tip # 5 - If you do not have anti-locking brakes, remember to pump your brakes to slow down. 

Tips # 6 - When roadways are icy the best traction device is a pair of chains, even if you have studded tires.

Experts at the Pro Drive driving school said most people lose control on icy roadways when they drive too fast and slam on the brakes.

Here are some other recommendations that drivers can follow, even before the snow falls:

• Make sure your vehicle is in top operating condition, with clean headlights, good brakes, working windshield wipers and good tires.

• Check road conditions on TripCheck and by listening to local newscasts.

Bicyclists should:

• Be extra cautious when stopping and turning on slick roads where bicycles, cars and trucks are less predictable and more prone to skid.

• Wear the right clothing for cold weather, including a good wind jacket, gloves to protect the hands and a helmet with an ear covering.

• Use the right equipment, including sturdy tires, a reflective vest and a bright halogen light on the front with a red light on the back.

Traveling on slick roads is unpredictable so everyone on the road should be extra cautious, be prepared and help everyone reach their destination safely. Know before you go.