Winter 2019

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From snow to sleet to freezing rain, severe weather conditions can make winter driving especially tricky.

But perhaps none is more dangerous than black ice. That’s because unlike snow and sleet, black ice can be practically invisible to an unsuspecting driver.

The safest thing to do is stay home when conditions call for icy roads – but of course, that’s not always possible.

Q: What Are a Few Techniques For Driving on Black Ice?

A: Black ice forms most often when it’s raining and the air temperature is at or below freezing 32°F. In these conditions, the first thing to do is reduce your speed. This will lessen your chances of skidding. When conditions are right for black ice, it’s best not to use cruise control.

Avoid any urges to make jerky, reactive movements that could cause skidding – or an accident. Slow speeds and small steering inputs are critical to safely navigating black ice.

black ice on road

How To Regain Control When Skidding on Black Ice

For front-wheel and all-wheel-drive cars:

  • Turn your steering wheel into the skid.
  • Change the direction of your steering if the skid takes you in another direction.
  • Maintain your speed and don’t suddenly apply the brakes or gas pedal.
  • Push in your clutch if you have a manual transmission.
  • Steer your car in the direction you want to go — this may mean counter-steering if the back of your vehicle swerves away from this direction.
  • Resist slamming on your brakes if you start to skid.

Overall, be gentle with your steering inputs. An overreaction could send your vehicle’s back end in the opposite direction. After straightening your vehicle, accelerate gently.

How To Avoid Frozen Pipes at Home

Frozen pipes often occur in the winter and thawing them can be a difficult job. Below are a few tips to thaw your pipes after they have become frozen.

ice and snow on home pipe

  1. Keep your faucet open. Keeping the faucet open allows for moving water to run through the pipe, which will expedite the thawing process.
  2. Apply heat to the section of the pipe that is frozen. This can be done by wrapping an electronic heating pad around the pipe, heating the area with a hair dryer or both. If you lack either of these items, using towels soaked in hot water will help as well.
  3. Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heaters, a charcoal stove or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes. You should also avoid using a space heater unless you are sure the area is clear of any flammable material.
  4. Continue applying heat until water flow returns to normal. Once you have successfully thawed the pipe, turn on other faucets in your home to check for any more frozen water pipes.
  5. Take swift action if the frozen pipes are located inside an exterior wall. Cut a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose those pipes to warmer air.

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