How to Identify and Drive in Freezing Rain

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Driving in sleet or freezing rain is obviously risky, but being prepared is your best weapon of defense! Live assured with these tips and with Preferred Mutual!

It might look like rain, but when droplets start freezing on contact with roads, windshields and sidewalks, freezing rain can easily become winter’s most treacherous of conditions. Read on for tips on how to identify and drive in freezing rain!

Freezing rain develops as falling snow, but as it passes through a layer of warmer air, the snowflakes melt and become rain. As the rain continues to fall, the droplets pass through a thinner layer of cold air just above the surface and cools to a temperature below freezing because the rain drops do not have enough time to completely freeze back to snow or sleet.  These supercooled drops strike a frozen surface, like cars and roads, casting a spell over surfaces only rivaled by Disney’s imagination.

Ice storms can be the most devastating of winter weather phenomena and are often the cause of automobile accidents, power outages and personal injury.

Understand the freezing pattern on your car.

Freezing rain will accumulate on your vehicle pretty quickly and it will coat your car with a thin layer of ice. If the storm has passed, simply scrape the ice off all windows for visibility. However, if freezing rain is still falling, and you must drive in it, it is best to keep your car as warm as possible so that you minimize the chance of ice forming on the areas you’ve already scraped.

Contrary to popular belief, four-wheel drive vehicles do not make a difference at all in freezing rain.

When there is ice on the road, there is very little, if any, friction or resistance to keep the tires where they should be. Ice does not care if you’re a good driver, have the best tires or drive the most winterized vehicle ever to hit the road. The best defense for ice is to stay off the road.

Don’t drive, if you don’t have to.

If you are aware of freezing rain conditions, stay home. Even with the reduction of speed, slick conditions like freezing rain just means that you will slide slower across the ice-ridden roads.

If freezing rain begins while you’re on the road,

...try to find a safe location (off the highway or busy road) to pull over and wait for the freezing rain storm to pass. Do not pull over to the side of the road, as often times, other cars won’t see you until they’re close enough to hit their brakes and slide into you.

Crank up your windshield defroster, and make sure your wipers are ready.

Visibility tends to be the worst in icy conditions, so you want your wipers to be in the best possible condition. If they streak, skip or leave patches you can’t see through, consider replacing them as soon as possible.

Identify the first places ice forms so you can take extra caution when approaching them.

Areas like bridges and overpasses, low lying areas, areas in shadow, higher elevations, and roads near bodies of water are all the first places ice will appear. When driving through these areas, be extra cautious and take your time.

Stay alert, because it can save your life.

Driving in freezing rain demands the utmost concentration, so focus on the road and those around you with limited distractions.

Driving in sleet or freezing rain is obviously risky, but being prepared is your best weapon of defense! Live assured with these tips and with Preferred Mutual!

This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not legal advice and/or an authoritative guide.

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