COLUMBIA (WACH) - Many drivers may think snow is the trouble maker when it comes to driving safely.
But it turns out snow is better to drive on than ice because snow compacts and provides a little bit of traction.
Ice on the other hand, is not quite so forgiving.
"Of course ice is going to be more difficult because ice tends to be very slick and very sleek and there is virtually no traction that you're able to get. So even if you have good tires, even if you have thick tread on your tires, and even if they're properly inflated, if they're on a surface that's basically the equivalent to glass, you're probably going to slide." says Whitney Manuel of ThinkSafe Driving School.
If you do find yourself sliding on a patch of ice, don't slam on the brakes, even though that might be your first instinct. Instead, it's recommended that you slowly take your foot off the gas and let the car slow down on its own.
After taking your foot off the gas, gently pump your brakes if you have standard brakes.
With anti-lock brakes, don't pump them, but rather apply steady pressure to the brakes.
You will feel the brakes pulse, but that's normal.
And if you think the salt the Department of Transportation puts on the roads will prevent you from sliding in the first place, that's not entirely true...depending on where you are.
"One of the things that salt does is it helps melt the ice and it helps increase the temperature. So if there's just a little bit of ice and you've got a very large quantity of salt, it would help. But of course we can't salt everywhere that we're going to drive." Manuel explains.
So if you must get out and drive, make sure to slow down for the icy conditions.
Be especially careful when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady spots.
These are all potential problem spots for black ice, which is especially difficult to see at night.
Another tip is to decrease your speed while driving and leave yourself plenty of room to stop.
You should allow at least three times more space than usual between your car and the car in front of you.
But as always, staying off the roads completely is the best way to keep yourself safe until the ice melts.