1. Get A Grip
To have adequate snow traction a tire requires at least 6/32-inch deep tread. High performance “summer” tires have little or no grip in snow. If you live where the roads are regularly covered with snow, use snow tires (sometimes called winter tires). They have a “snowflake on the mountain” symbol on the sidewall.
2. Give Yourself a Brake
Learn to get maximum efficiency from your brakes before an emergency. Stomp, stay and steer. Stomp on the pedal and stay hard on the pedal, steer around the obstacle. If you drive on icy roads or roads covered with snow, modify your technique. After you stomp and ABS begins cycling you will feel pulses in the pedal or hear the system working—ease up slightly on the pedal until the pulsing slows to only once a second. For vehicles without ABS, you’ll have to rely on the old fashioned system. Push the brake pedal hard until the wheels stop rolling, then immediately release the brake enough to allow the wheels to begin turning again. Repeat this sequence rapidly.
3. Watch Carefully For Black Ice
If the road looks slick, it probably is. This is especially true with one of the worst hazards also known as “glare ice.” This is nearly transparent ice that looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. Test the traction with a smooth brake application or slight turn of the wheel.
4. Remember the Tough Spots
Remember where icy roads tend to occur. Bridges and intersections are common places, Also, wherever water runs across the road…automatic lawn sprinklers or sump pump discharge.
5. Too Much Steering Is Bad
If a slick section in a turn causes front tires to lose grip the common but incorrect reaction is to continue turning the steering wheel. It won’t improve the situation and may make things worse. If the icy condition ends and the front tires regain grip, the car will dart whichever way the wheels are pointed. Turning the steering wheel too much never helps.
6. Avoid Rear-tire Slides
First, choose a car with electronic stability control. Fortunately, ESC will be mandatory on all 2012 models. Next make sure your rear tires have at least as much tread as your front tires. Finally, if you buy winter tires, get four.