Quick Primer: Cars and Ice
With the impending forecast, we thought a quick primer on cars and ice might be in order. Thankfully, we do not have much ice in the Lowcountry and the length between storms may make it difficult to remember these safety tips.
If you can keep your vehicle in a garage or sheltered location that is the best thing to do. If that’s not possible cover your windshield with a tarp or towel. Change your wiper solvent to a winter de-icing solution. Do not under any circumstances pour hot water on your windshield or it may crack. Start your car, set the defroster, and let it run till it’s warm to aid in the ice removal. Use a plastic ice scraper or another tool that will not damage your windshield. Make sure your wipers are in excellent condition in case you find yourself driving in freezing rain.
Rubber gets harder in cold weather and extreme temperatures can affect tire pressure. The pressure can be reduced by one PSI with every 10-degree drop in temperature. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Even a thin layer of ice can weaken tires. Below freezing temperatures can damage your tires due to a loss of flexibility.
Avoid driving on ice if you can. Black ice is particularly treacherous as the road appears wet, not icy. If you must drive, slow down—way down. Speed is not your friend if you start to skid. Brake gently and leave extra distance between yourself and other vehicles. Exercise extra caution on bridges and ramps as they freeze more quickly. Be careful and patient.
Make sure your battery is fully charged. No one wants to get stranded in an ice storm.
If you must go out make sure you have flares, a blanket, water, and snacks in your vehicle. If your vehicle breaks down or you are in an accident, call for help.
A little common sense and extra caution can go a long way in keeping you and your vehicle safe in icy conditions.