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Icy Roads in Arkansas: How to Protect Yourself

While Arkansas may see fewer snow days than other states, we get our fair share of icy precipitation—especially in the northern parts of the state. But Arkansas’ inconsistent weather patterns make it difficult for drivers to practice driving in these dangerous conditions. In this article, a Little Rock car accident lawyer from Beacon Legal Group offers 12 tips for protecting yourself on icy roads in Arkansas.

12 Tips for Driving on Icy Arkansas Roads

Tip #1: Drive 10 MPH Below Posted Speed Limits

Don’t use excessive speed on ice. The Arkansas State Police driver's license study guide says drivers should slow down on icy conditions by at least 10 MPH below posted speed limits. Drive at a speed that makes you feel comfortable. If you need to, pull over in a safe location to let other drivers pass.

Tip #2: Don’t Use Cruise Control

The cruise control function in your car can make it difficult to detect a change in traction on the road. This seconds-long delay can cause you to lose complete control over your vehicle. Save the cruise control option for drier months and stick to actively working the pedals instead.

Tip #3: Watch Out for Sliding Vehicles

Four-wheel-drive vehicles are great during the winter—but while they may provide you with extra traction, they cannot prevent you from sliding on ice completely. Once your vehicle builds velocity and starts sliding on ice, it is nearly impossible to stop or slow down unless your tires catch pavement. It’s important to be aware of the possibility of your car sliding, as well as the cars of drivers around you.

Tip #4: Know What to Do When You Slide

Instinct may tell you to slam on the brakes when you start sliding, but that can cause you to lose control. If your car starts sliding on an icy road, do not accelerate or brake. Instead, take your foot off the gas pedal and very gently steer in the direction you’re skidding. Don’t fight the ice—allow your car to slow so that you can regain control.

Tip #5: Be Wary of Black Ice

Black ice is the name for a thin layer of transparent, hard-to-see ice that builds up on paved roads, even in snowy conditions. Drivers cannot anticipate a black ice patch until the vehicle begins spinning out of control. It’s best to assume that black ice is under the snow or under the pavement at the first hint of winter moisture.

Tip #6: Avoid Shady Spots

Icy road conditions can linger throughout the day and night, especially in spots that don’t see a lot of sun. These shady areas are always quick to freeze and slow to thaw. Avoid them entirely if you can and opt for well-traveled public roads in sunny locations instead.

Tip #7: Drive in Dry Tire Troughs

Tire troughs, or grooves in the snow made by the tires of drivers ahead of you, can be your best friend or your enemy. If the tire trough is down to dry pavement, keep your tires inside them to maintain traction. On the other hand, high pressure and daytime melting can create icy conditions in tire troughs at night, so always be wary of the current road conditions.

Tip #8: Know that Ice Builds on Bridges First

According to, ice buildup occurs on bridges before it occurs on regular roads. Bridges do not get the same insulation that highways and local roadbeds do, making them highly dangerous for unaware drivers. Make sure you drive much slower going over them in freezing conditions if they are not dry.

Tip #9: Keep Tools On-Hand

Your vehicle must be prepared to endure the elements. Consider bringing a small shovel, a windshield ice scraper, a lock deicer, a bag of sand, roadside hazard markers, flashlights, and a complete emergency first aid kit with you.

Tip #10: Avoid Braking When Going Uphill

Try coasting uphill when icy, snowy conditions are present. If you tap the brakes to slow down when going uphill, your vehicle could start sliding forward uncontrollably or lose momentum and hit the car behind it. Use just enough speed to get your car up over the hill.

Tip #11: When in Doubt, Stay Home

The safest way to protect yourself from a car accident on an icy road is by not going out in the first place. Arkansas businesses take icy roads seriously, with some allowing employees to head home before roads get too bad. Not everyone has that luxury, but you should take them up on their offer if you can.

Tip #12: Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer if You Get Hurt

No matter how prepared you are to take on icy roads, you cannot control other drivers. If a negligent driver causes an accident, get medical attention and speak with a car accident attorney for advice. We can help you understand what to expect from the claims process and answer questions about whether legal representation is best for your potential insurance settlement for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

Beacon Legal Group is Here to Help

Beacon Legal Group offers legal advice and representation to injury victims throughout Arkansas. We offer prospective clients an initial consultation with a car accident injury attorney to find out more about their rights. Schedule yours today by calling our firm at (501) 907-9539 or by clicking here to send us a confidential message.

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