There are almost 6 million vehicle crashes in United States each year. One out of four crashes are weather-related, and the vast majority of these weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement and during rainfall.
Learn how to drive safely on slick roads and how to master a skid before you take your DMV written test. You should expect at least one or two questions about driving in adverse weather and on slippery roads.
If you live in a northern state with bad winter conditions, expect at least one question about winter driving.
The Most Important Safety Feature
Tires are the most important safety feature when it comes to driving on slippery roads. The only contact your vehicle has with the road is through the tires.
Normal tires have good traction up to 35 mph. When you drive faster, your tires start hydroplaning, much like water skis. At 50 mph your tires can lose all traction. Worn tires will lose traction at much lower speed and are extremely dangerous on slippery roads.
The tread depth of your tires must be at least 2/32 inches measured in two adjacent treads. Check the tires regularly. You should also make sure that your tires have correct tire pressure, no bulges, no fabric showing, no bald areas and no cuts.
Plan Your Drive
Avoid driving in heavy rain, if possible. Check weather reports and delay your trip if there are heavy rainfalls or thunderstorms heading your way. Heavy rain often slow down traffic on major highways.
Slow Down and Adjust Your Following Distance
If you must drive on slippery roads, remember to adjust your speed and keep a safe following distance. Your vehicle won’t be able to stop as quickly as on dry roads.
You should keep a following distance of at least 4-5 seconds to any vehicle in front of you. Remember that slippery surfaces can be real problems for motorcycles. If you are following a motorcycle you should use extra caution.
Questions about speed and following distance on slippery roads are the most common questions on DMV written tests in all states.
Use Caution at All Times
Use care when you need to turn. Slow down before you enter any curve. If you go too fast in a curve, the tires will not be able to grip the road surface and could throw you into a skid.
Start braking well ahead of a stop. You should also use turn signals earlier. This way, other drivers will know your plans and can adjust their speed or position.
Know How to Master a Skid
If your vehicle starts to skid, it is easy to panic and not knowing what to do. Reading and talking about skids are often not enough for new drivers. If you get the chance to practice in a safe area, do it! Ask a local driving school for advice. It may cost you a few dollars, but it is could save your life one day.
The most important thing to remember about skids, is that you must slow down. You can only regain traction by letting your car slow. Take your foot off the gas and avoid slamming on the brakes. When you regained traction, press the brake pedal firmly if you have anti-lock brakes, and otherwise pump the brakes gently. Steer down the road in the direction you want to go. Read more about how to master the skid at Driver’s Prep.