Watch: Toyota Fortuner has narrow escape after skidding on black ice near Manali

  • A video of the Toyota Fortuner went viral showing how the SUV escaped a fatal fall after slipping on black ice between Kaza and Manali recently.
Toyota Fortuner black ice Manali video
Screenshot of the video that went viral showing.a Toyota Fortuner precariously hanging from a cliff on the road between Kaza and Manali recently. The SUV, despite being an off-road capable model, skidded off the track due to dense black ice.
Toyota Fortuner black ice Manali video
Screenshot of the video that went viral showing.a Toyota Fortuner precariously hanging from a cliff on the road between Kaza and Manali recently. The SUV, despite being an off-road capable model, skidded off the track due to dense black ice.

Driving on snow, especially on black ice is a tricky affair even for professionals with an off-road vehicle. A bunch of five tourists recently realised it the hard way when their Toyota Fortuner SUV skidded on a thick layer of black ice near Batal Road between Kaza and Manali in Himachal Pradesh. A scary video of the SUV dangling from a cliff overlooking Chandra River has gone viral on social media. The SUV, along with its five occupants, had a narrow escape when the vehicle got saved by rocks on the edge of the road which stopped it from a free fall into the river.

The video shows a white Toyota Fortuner SUV, which is considered as one of the best models to tackle off-road terrain in India, perched sideways on a narrow patch of road flanked by rocky walls and a cliff. The road, as can be seen from the images, had a thick layer of black ice. The rear wheels of the SUV were stuck between rocks on the edge of the cliff.

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Black ice is one of the biggest menaces in regions which witness frequent snowfall. If driving on snow is a difficult challenge, driving on black ice can be termed a pro-level challenge. Every year, several such accidents occur in tourist destinations like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir due to this phenomenon. It is caused by melting ice which gets hardened into a shiny layer under sunlight. This makes the surface difficult for tyres to grip or get any traction. It often causes vehicles to skid off the track.

While it is advisable to stay off roads with snow or black ice in case someone has no experience of driving on them, here are some tips and tricks to avoid skidding on such surfaces.

How to drive on black ice:

The first advise for driving on black ice is to be able to figure out sections of road which are covered with it. Due to sunlight, it often becomes difficult to spot black ice. It generally forms on hardened snow or around areas where water flows. In case someone needs to take road with black ice, it is essential to be ready for the challenge. Accessories such as all-terrain tyres, snow chains, anti-skid pads or traction pads and winches are some of the helpful tools to avoid any incident. Yet, all of these could be rendered useless unless the car is driven according to the situation.

The first rule of driving on black ice is to go slow. It will also help if the wheels are slightly deflated to get better traction. In case one hits a black ice patch, the first thing to do is take foot off the acceleration pedal and shift to neutral. Though skidding can trigger panic, it is advisable not to hit the brake hard to avoid further trouble as vehicles tend to skid further. Light pedal on the brake will help the vehicle to slow down.

In case these tricks cannot help the vehicle to stop, or slow down, the driver needs to put his manoeuvring skills to avoid collision or, in worse cases, a free fall off the cliff. To divert the car from skidding off the road, it is advisable to rotate the wheels further in the same direction to help it steer back on course. Needless to say, when driving on black ice, one should keep ample distance with other vehicles to avoid collision.

How to drive on snow:

Driving on soft snow is relatively easier than black ice. Yet, one needs to be careful about condition of the tyres, speed and other factors to have a safe drive. For snowy conditions, it is necessary to have good set of tyres, preferably new with prominent tread marks, to get a better grip of things. A slow and steady pace is the key to have a safe and enjoyable drive on snow. One needs to be cautious of speed at turns and bends around. These are sections where car tends to lose traction. Slower speed will help to get better control of the vehicle.

When going uphill, it is important to maintain momentum and avoid sudden braking or acceleration. These could stall the vehicle on snow and one will be left with the wheels spinning. While going downhill, slow speed at lower gear is key besides feather touch on brake when it is necessary to stop.

First Published Date: 20 Dec 2023, 12:51 PM IST

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