LUBBOCK, Texas — Driving when temperatures are at or below 32 degrees with wintry precipitation can be tricky.
In many cases, road conditions can be most treacherous when there is a thin layer of ice on the surface. This is known as black ice because of the transparent layer that forms on a black top or road surface.
If you encounter black ice it can cause your vehicle to get into either a rear-wheel slide or front-wheel slide. Both are terrifying, but it is best to remain calm.
A rear-wheel slide or fish-tailing usually result in over steering. To regain control, look and steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go.
Do not slam on the brakes. The tires need to continue spinning to regain control. Once the rear wheels start to correct be prepared for the vehicle to slide in the opposite direction.
Just continue to steer in the direction you want the vehicle to travel until you have regained control.
A front-wheel slide happens mainly to front-wheel drive vehicles. It is easier to control because the vehicle will not shift directions like a rear-wheel slide, however you will not be able to steer the vehicle until the tires regain traction.
Always remember to remain calm.
The best way to regain control in a front-wheel slide is to look and steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go.
Once again, avoid slamming on the brakes. When the tires regain traction, continue to steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go.
Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Dianah Ascensio encourages drivers to slow down when icy roads are imminent or in progress.
She said people should give their vehicle three times the normal following distance.
“Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze before any other parts of the roadway because they’re elevated structures,” Ascensio said. “Certainly if you do not feel comfortable driving on any major freeways then take the frontage road or take city streets to get to your destination.”
Before heading out during winter months it is recommended to check weather conditions of your route and destination.
DriveTexas.org is a great resource if you are planning on traveling within the state.
“We do our very best to update the public on current road conditions,” Ascensio said. “It also provides the information on what kind of construction you might encounter along your route.”