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Here’s Some Winter Driving Tips From a Driver’s Education Instructor

ANKENY, Iowa -- Driving instructors say winter weather brings the bad driving habits to light.

Ed Jennings, a driving instructor for Street Smarts, said rather than rushing, drivers need to slow down every action when driving on slick and snow covered roads.

“Anything you do, we want to try to do it slowly and make small corrections. To make a quick jerk of the steering wheel, that could really cause a loss of traction that’s hard to recover from,” Jennings said.

Jennings said drivers should slow down by at least five to ten miles per hour to make a difference.

“Just pretend there’s an egg underneath your foot and you want to just barely push on the gas and the brake just enough to either slow down or speed up so you don’t break the egg,” Jennings said.

He said drivers should not use cruise control in wintry conditions, even if it does not appear to be slippery.

“Your car doesn’t know it’s a slick spot and so your tires will spin and you’ll lose traction and you’ll slide around a little bit. And then when you do go to brake, a lot of times you’ll brake too hard and that makes it worse too,” Jennings said.

He added, it’s a good rule of thumb to have a three second following distance on a dry road and even more on a wet or snowy road.

“Nobody ever gets into a crash because they had too much following distance. So it’s always better to err on the side of a little bit more space as opposed to following a little bit too close,” Jennings said.

If you are not able to stop on a wintry road for whatever reason, he said it is good to look for the next best place to steer your car.

“Always knowing where your exit, or out, or safe place to go is and usually turning the steering wheel to the right away from oncoming traffic is going to be the safer place to go whether that be the shoulder if it’s a two lane country road or possibly even the ditch,” Jennings said.

Jennings said it's also important to have good tires with the right amount of air in them to keep traction on snowy roads.

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