Winter driving tips from veteran instructor - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Winter driving tips from veteran instructor

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(01/24/13) - Even if you've been at it for decades, there's always something new to learn about winter driving.

We've all done it - shake our heads when we see cars and trucks spin out on slippery roads.

"They don't think about their car sliding sideways and then it's way too late," said Brian Cox, of All Safe Drivers Ed.

Cox, who operates a drivers training school, says the biggest mistake people make is going too fast for the conditions. Danger isn't obvious until you have to hit the brakes - and then it might be too late.

"The saying here in the classroom is, 'It's not how fast can I go but it's how fast can I stop in ice and snow,'" Cox said.

On a snowy morning, how do you know how fast you can safely go? Cox says you have to experiment a little.

"I'll pick up my speed to 25-30. I'll tap my brake when no car is around me and I'll see where I'm going to slide. Then I pick it up to 35. I'll tap my brake to see if I'm going to slide," he said.

Cox says drivers of pickups and SUVs often are overconfident because they believe their vehicles can handle the snow better.

"They've got to get it in their heads to slow down before the crash because they won't have time when the crash happens," he said.

Less experienced drivers can get into trouble with spinouts at corners. Cox says you need to turn the steering wheel or hit the accelerator, but not both.

"It's almost inevitable that if you're turning and gassing at the same time on a very slippery road, you will lost control of your steering," he said.

While cruise control is convenient on dry pavement, letting the computer take over can be dangerous in icy conditions.

"It is the worst thing in the world to run your cruise control on slippery roads," Cox said.

The long time driving instructor says staying patient in bad weather can go a long way in keeping you safe.

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