Drivers urged to take care in icy conditions

The RACT reminds drivers to be cautious in icy conditions as Tasmania’s wintry weather continues.

​With snow and ice being more prevalent in recent weeks, it is timely to remind drivers to be more cautious and drive to the conditions.

"Low light, poor visibility, black ice and other road hazards can cause many dangers on our roads." RACT Acting General Manager, Member Assist, Craig Millington said.

What does "drive to the conditions" mean? The Road Safety Advisory Council (RSAC) says you must adjust your speed for the weather and/or road conditions. You may need to drive below the speed limit. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front – vehicles skid on wet and icy roads and stopping distances are greater. Four seconds between vehicles should be the minimum in poor conditions. To measure this distance, choose a point on the side of the road and count the seconds between when the vehicle in front passes that point and when you reach it. Do not drive through water across the roadway – you don’t know what’s underneath.

What is "black ice" and how do I anticipate it? Black ice occurs when a thin sheet of ice forms over a hard surface, usually around dawn or late evening. Because it is almost transparent it is difficult to spot, hence its name. Be especially careful in shaded or tree-covered roadways due to lack of sunlight and on bridges and overpasses as they can freeze more quickly.

What do I do if my car slides? The basic rule is to stay calm and let your vehicle pass over it. Do not hit the brakes or over-steer. Keep your steering wheel steady and lift your foot off the accelerator.

What do I do if visibility is poor? Use your air conditioner to prevent your windscreen from fogging up. Drive with your lights on and keep a safe following distance to the vehicle in front. When driving in fog, don’t put your lights on high beam as this makes the road harder to see. Instead use low beam, as this keeps the light on the road, and use fog lamps if the conditions are bad enough. If visibility is so limited that you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance, pull over and wait for the conditions to ease.

How do I keep my vehicle in good winter driving condition? Have your vehicle serviced regularly, especially in winter when conditions can increase the wear and tear. Ensure your vehicle is roadworthy and the tyres are in good condition and correctly inflated. Wipers, headlights and demisters should also be in good condition.