Driving instructors encourage extra following distance on slick roads

PIQUA, Ohio (WDTN) – With winter weather such as freezing rain expected in the Miami Valley this weekend, driving instructors say slower speeds and increased following distance are key to preventing crashes.

Freezing rain means roads could once again get slippery.

“I try not to get too close to the guy ahead of me, and unfortunately there’s not much you can do about the guy behind you,” said Steve Koons.

Driving instructors say it’s important to remember that it will take more time for your car to stop.

“Dry roads – we tell people to stay four to five seconds back from the car in front of them,” said Pat Brown, AAA driving school instructor. “As the weather gets worse, we want to make that longer. So if it’s icy or snow, we want to go maybe eight to ten seconds.”

Brown suggests drivers start slowing down earlier than normal and brake gently. He also recommends not swerving the steering wheel.

“When we get surprised, or when we get where we’re not sure what’s going on, a lot of times we stomp on the brake or we pull the steering wheel,” Brown said. “And that’s the last thing you want to do in snow and ice.”

If your car starts to slide, stay calm and use the brake only gently if you have to, Brown said. Look and steer where you want to go, he added.

“If you want to go left, look and steer – the car will go where you look,” Brown said. “As you look and steer to it, it will respond to you. If you over-steer it, just turn back the other way and correct it. Try to get the car as straight as possible.”

Brown said it’s also a good idea to keep in mind that there could be black ice on the road, which isn’t as easy to see. He also encourages drivers not to be on the roads during winter weather if they don’t have to be.

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